Mahone Bay's Heritage Boat Yard Co-op

Celebrating our heritage, our legacy, our pride. Mahone Bay, NS

for the Town of Mahone Bay

The Silhouette Project has erected 2 foot square, black metal ship silhouettes that display 16 different types of ship. All these styles of ships have been built here in Mahone Bay and this signage project is intended to celebrate this.

There will be two of each style of ship silhouette creating 32 signs in total. The signs are placed along Main Street on utility poles.

Full Rigged Ship
did not fine image Kinburn, - built 1873, - length 183 - weight 1200t, - at John H Zwicker Shipyard

The Kinburn ruled the waves off Lunenburg County for many years, and was widely regarded as the largest ship east of Shelburne for much of the latter half of the 19th century.  Size, however, did not guarantee immortality, as she succumbed to the sea before the end of the century, sinking in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1899.

did not fine image Tancook, - built 1868 - Length 171' - Elkanah Zwicker Shipyard

The Barque or Bark is usually a three masted vessel, the fore and main masts square rigged and the mizzen mast or after mast is rigged fore and aft. The four masted barque was a relatively common rig on the oceans, but only two were built in Canada. The John M. Blaikie was launched in 1885 at Great Village, and the Kings County was launched in 1890 at Kingsport.
The barque was a popular rig, and more of this type was built than all other square rigs combined. The big Maitland, Nova Scotia, barque Calburga was the last British North American square rigger of large tonnage to be on the Canadian registry; she was lost off the coast of Wales in November 1915.

did not fine image The Brig two masted vessel square rigged on both masts and differentiated from the snow rig by the absence of a trysail mast and having the trysail (also known as a spencer or spanker or driver hoisted on the aft side of the main mast. The brig is a very old and efficient sailing rig, and the class was still in use up to the very end of commercial sailing ships.
Only a few brigs were built in Nova Scotia yards, but they were very common in European waters.

did not fine image Nicanor, - built 1886, - length 140’, - weight - 463t, - at John H Zwicker Shipyard
Abeona, - built 1893, - length 149’ - weight 500t, - at John H Zwicker Shipyard

The Barquentine is a vessel with the foremast rigged square, and the other masts rigged fore and aft. Our vessel is similar to the Maid of England of 750 tons built at Grosses Coques in 1919. She was the last Canadian commercial vessel to carry a square rig, being abandoned at sea in 1928. Only a small number of this type were built locally.
In Mahone Bay, the Nicanor,463 tons, and Ravenswood, 524 tons, were built in the John H. Zwicker shipyard in 1886 and 1890.

did not fine image Leo, - built 1882, - lengtj 97’, - weight 165t, - at Titus Langille Shipyard Clyde, - built 1884, - length 110’, - weight 236t, - at Titus Langille Shipyard Mahone, - built 1884, - length 96’ weight 160t, - at John H Zwicker Shipyard Prussia, - built 1890, - length 128’, - weight 362t, - at Peter Langille Shipyard Maggie Belle, - built 1904, - length 101’ - weight 134t, - at John H Zwicker Shipyard

The Brigantine, a two masted vessel square rigged on the foremast, with fore-and-aft sails on the mainmast. The brigantine is shown with two staysails set between the masts. Used primarily for cargo and plying the eastern seaboard and northern Altantic Ocean, these vessels hauled wood, coal, fish and local products south returning to our shores with sugar, rum, molasses and other southern manufactured goods.
The silhouette shows a typical vessel built in Mahone Bay three being the Leo, Maggie Belle and Argo at 99, 120 and 154 tons. Most notably is the brigantine Amazon built at Spencers Island which later became the famous mystery ship Mary Celeste.

did not fine image Edward - built in 1775, - at Ephraim Cook Shipyard

A Snow or Snaw is a type of brig often referred to as a snow-brig carrying square sails on both masts but had a small trysail mast, sometimes called a snow-mast, stepped immediately abaft the mainmast. This mast would carry a trysail (fore and aft, gaff-rigged sail with boom), a sail and its rigging resembling the mizzen of a ship. A variation had an iron rod called a horse on the aft side of the mainmast, with the luff of the trysail attached to it by rings.
During the first half of the eighteenth century a snow rig was typically a larger merchant vessel as well as a common form of sailing rig for small two-masted ships. One of the first large vessels built at the head of Mahone Bay’s harbour was the snow-rigged Edward, an obligation by Governor Lawrence of Ephraim Cook for the rights to develop a settlement at the Town’s present site.

Four Mast Schooner
did not fine image The Four Masted Schooner design attempted to reduce individual sail area, raise tonnage, and still manage with a small crew. All sails were set fore-and-aft and were, gaff-rigged with topsails.
In the early days sails were hoisted by hand, but gradually the gasoline hoisting engine was introduced, saving work, wages, and food. She could operate with eight hands, and reached 500 to 700 tons. At the turn of the century these schooners were used in the coastal trade between Canada and the United States, the West Indies, South America, and some trans-Atlantic voyages were made to Europe and West Africa. Nova Scotians built and operated between seven and eight hundred big schooners, but by World War I most had passed out of the picture.

Tern Schooner
did not fine image Margery Mahaffy, - built 1918, - at John McLean and Son Ltd
John W. Miller, - built 1918,- -at John McLean and Son Ltd
Richard B. Silver, - built 1919, - at John McLean and Son Ltd
John M. Wood, - built 1919, - at John McLean and Son Ltd
Ethlyn, - built 1919, - at John McLean and Son Ltd
Cote Norde, - built 1919, - at John McLean and Son Ltd
McLean Clan, - built 1920, - at John McLean and Son Ltd

The Tern Schooner, the word “tern” meaning “a series of three”, is a three master built in great numbers all along our shores between 1880 and 1920. These vessels were cargo carriers of between 200 and 400 tons, requiring a crew of six to eight. Our tern silhouette is shown with all sails set except for staysails between the masts.
In Mahone Bay the 146 ton tern Cote Nord, built in 1919 for the fur trade in the Hudson Bay and with ports on the St Lawrence River, was fitted a few years later with a two hundred horse power auxiliary and sold to the Americans to enter the illicit rum running trade. The tern Irene Myrtle built by the MacLean shipyard in 1920 was purchased by the US Navy in 1942, renamed Irene Forsyte and refitted for use as a Q-ship (submarine hunter). With the inroads made by the steamer, the old schooners were hard pressed to find a cargo. A few did survive until WW II.

Square Top Schooner
did not fine image Square Topsail Schooner a combination of fore and aft sails and small square sails. They were popular for coastal trading in the early 1800s and a number of topsail schooners were built and many were sold in Great Britain. A version with raked (angled) masts, called the Baltimore Clipper, was much favoured by privateers in the War of 1812. Most notable in our Mahone Bay area is the infamous ghost ship, the American privateer Young Teazer, seen as a fiery apparition on foggy summer nights.
The Avon Spirit built in 1997 at Newport Landing, Nova Scotia, a scaled-down replica of the vessel FBG, the last cargo schooner built in Nova Scotia and the last vessel registered in the old Windsor Registry of Shipping. She sailed out of Mahone Bay in 1999 chartered for harbour and island tours in the summer tourist season.

Grand Banks Schooner
did not fine image Phoebe, - built 1870, - length 53’ weight - 33t, - at Titus Langille/Zwicker Shipyard

Grand Bank Fishing Schooners have two or more masts with fore and aft sails. Similar to the famous Bluenose, our example, in addition to all the normal lower sails, carries a main gaff topsail and a fisherman's staysail set between the masts. Silhouette depicts a vessel with her winter rig.
Hundreds of schooners largely destined for the offshore fishing industry and produced in the shipyards of Mahone Bay sailed out of fishing ports from Newfoundland to the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Coastal Schooner
did not fine image The Coastal Schooner was the work horse of our coastal trade. In the days of few roads and a strong dependence on the sea well into the early 1900s, the boat has been termed the pick-up truck of the era. She was probably not much more than a hundred tons, and carried everything from timber and coal to bricks, general cargo, and loads of hay to offshore island communities.
Our schooner is shown with only a main topmast, but many also carried a fore topmast. Note the yawl boat towed astern.

Fishing Schooner
did not fine image Grand Bank Fishing Schooners have two or more masts with fore and aft sails. Similar to the famous Bluenose, our example, in addition to all the normal lower sails, carries a main gaff topsail and a fisherman's staysail set between the masts. Silhouette depicts a vessel with her summer rig.
Hundreds of schooners largely destined for the offshore fishing industry and produced in the shipyards of Mahone Bay sailed out of fishing ports from Newfoundland to the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Tancook Whaler
did not fine image Evolved in the Mahone Bay area the double-ended Whaler was first built in the 1860s to 1870s at Lunenburg on the mainland for the inshore fishery . Early boats, 24 to 28 feet, were lapstrake with keel and schooner rig. Requirements for Tancook Island boats were severe with no natural harbour to shelter in around the island, heavy offshore weather to sail and prolonged summer calms requiring rowing to reach the fishing grounds. Speed and capacity requirements drove the design to its final form around 1900 in lengths to 50 feet, caravel planked and with boiler plate centerboards. The design developed into one of the most handsome double-enders with graceful shear and renowned sailing qualities.

Gaff Sloop
did not fine image The Sloop is a fore and aft rigged vessel with one mast. In the early 1800’s some large sloops traded with the West Indies, but most sloops in the 19th century were small inshore fishing vessels. In the 20th century, sloops became the most popular rig for yachts. O. A. Ham Yacht Works, located in Mahone Bay was a well known builder of fast and luxurious boats of this design.

Bermudian Sloop
did not fine image Nimbery, - built 1897, - at Obed Ham Yachtworks

The term Bermuda rig also known as a Marconi rig refers to a configuration of mast and rigging for a type of sailboat and is the typical configuration for most modern sailboats. This configuration was developed in Bermuda in the 17th century but the term Marconi was a much later reference to the inventor Guglielmo Marconi, whose wireless radio masts resembled Bermuda rigs. The Marconi rig defines only the way a mast is supported. Additional sails were also often mounted on traditional Bermudian craft, when running down wind, which included a spinnaker, with a spinnaker boom, and additional jibs.
After WWII, with the advent of plywood and fiberglass pleasure craft construction, large numbers of sloops from 12 foot dinghies to thirty and forty footers were built in the shops and shipyards around Mahone Bay; manufacturer names included Paceship, MacVay and Mahone Bay Plycraft.

did not fine image A cat boat (alternate spelling: catboat or a cat-rigged) sailboat, is a single-hulled sailing vessel characterized by a single mast carried well forward (i.e., near the bow of the boat). Although any boat with a single sail and a mast carried well forward is 'technically' a catboat, the traditional catboat has a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a centreboard, and a single gaff-rigged mainsail. Some catboats of a more modern design carry a Bermuda sail. A jib is sometimes added, but this may require a bowsprit, and technically creates a sloop sail-plan.
It is generally accepted that the origin of the cat boat type was in New York around 1840 and from there spread east, south and north as the virtues of the type - simplicity, ease of handling, shallow draft, large capacity - were discovered. Historically, they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters

Silhouette Information Panel
did not fine image

return to PROJECT main page