The Schooner Adventure was designed by the famous marine architect Thomas McManus as a “knockabout”‑‑without a bowsprit for the safety of the crew. The schooner was built in 1926, in Essex, Massachusetts, by the John F. James and Son Shipyard. She measured 121.6 feet in length, 24.5 feet in breadth, and 14 feet in depth. Her gross tonnage was 130 and her net tonnage 62. When built, Adventure was powered by a 120 horsepower engine turning a single screw in a cutout space in the rudder.
Fishing the Banks
Schooner Adventure fished for cod, haddock and halibut in Georges and Browns Banks. Carrying a sailing rig, diesel engine, and 14 dories, Adventure was an exceptionally fast and able vessel, the ultimate evolution of the fishing schooner. Schooner Adventure was a “highliner,” the biggest moneymaker of all time, landing nearly $4 million worth of cod and halibut during her fishing career. When retired in 1953, Schooner Adventure was the last American dory fishing trawler left in the Atlantic.
Jeff Thomas (1926-1934)
Leo Hynes (1934-1953)
In 1954, Schooner Adventure was retired from fishing and converted into a windjammer for passenger cruising, removing the engine, propeller, and prop shaft. Adventure carried passengers along the coast of Maine until 1987. Her grace, beauty, and prowess as a sailing vessel earned her the nickname “Queen of the Windjammers.” In 1988 Adventure was given to the people of Gloucester to be preserved as Gloucester’s historic tall ship and to be used to inform and educate the public about the important role of fishing in American history.
Don Hurd and Newt Newton (1954-1965)
Jim Sharp (1965-1988)
Gift to Gloucester
Captain Sharp donated Adventure in 1988 to The Gloucester Adventure, Inc., a non-profit group formed in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to preserve the schooner, “as a monument to the history of Gloucester and for the education and pleasure of the public.” The group is dedicated to preserving Adventure and operating her at sea; developing educational programs; and heightening public awareness of Gloucester’s role in the development of the American fishing industry and the importance of maintaining and protecting the fisheries.
A rare survivor, Adventure is an irreplaceable artifact from an extraordinary era in American history. A prominent destination site on the Essex National Heritage Area Maritime Trail, Adventure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994. Adventure serves as a living memorial to the more than five thousand Gloucester fishermen lost at sea and was honored to be selected as an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1999.