Historic schooner Lettie G Howard sailing off Stamford

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1893 schooner Lettie G Howard sailing a few days ago,
photos by Peter Vanderwaart

I’ve owed a debt of gratitude to Peter Vanderwaart for some time. He’s the gentleman who took over the Yahoogroup boatdesign when my own commitments and family troubles grew too great for me to continue as moderator. That was quite a few years ago, but I’m glad to say that the Yahoogroup continues, and that I often dip in to find out what’s going on, even if I don’t often have much to contribute.

Anyway, I was pleased to hear from him the other day, not least because he’d obviously been looking at intheboatshed.net. ‘Do you like pics of American old-timers?’ he asked.

‘Absolutely I do,’ I replied. And then he sent me a series of photos he’d taken of a schooner he’d spotted while sailing. The Lettie G Howard belongs to New York’s South Street Seaport Museum, and you can read about her here and here.

‘To fill in the background, we were out daysailing and saw the vessel several miles to the east, off Norwalk. She seemed to be beating against the breeze as best she could, and by and by, she got up to where we were off Stamford. We were sailing reefed, and she was standing up straight with all her canvas flying. (My boat is not too stiff, certainly by UK standards. I would guess we were seeing 12 knots. Not much more.) There was another sloop about our size – an old 1/2 tonner, I think – and she looked like a handful with full sail.’

In the first photo, the schooner is three to five miles away, he says. ‘The picture is notable for two things. First, it’s a pretty remarkable picture to come from an ordinary camera that slips in your picket, given the long telephoto and that it was taken from a moving platform. Second, the “mirage” effects are pretty interesting, and show that the water was warmer than the air, although the temp was in the 60s F.’

Peter’s photos of the schooner can be seen online at Flickr.

Thanks Peter!

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