Schooner Bill of Rights

Schooners

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Mainden voyage of the Bill of Rights circa 1971

Constructed in 1971 in South Bristol, Maine, the Bill of Rights is a gaff-rigged schooner, and was built with traditional wooden construction and was based on the drawings of the schooner Wanderer, an 1856 vessel that carried cargo from New Orleans to New York. Ships like the Wanderer were typical of the working boats of the East Coast of the United States during the late 1800s, where they were used for cargo and fishing.

In an era when the value of your cargo depended greatly on when you got back to dock, a fast and maneuverable ship was highly desired. The first boat back to port with a load of fresh fish could command a high price for their load. This placed significant emphasis on getting to the fishing grounds quickly, loading the hold full of fish, and getting back to port before the other boats.

Thus was born the gaff-rigged schooner. These beautiful ships, with their for-aft sails, raked masts, and sleek lines were state-of the-art designs and highly sought-after.