ELSIE and BLUENOSE, Start of the First Race

from verso:  "Start of the first race of the Internatonal Race, showing 'Elsie' in the lead with Bluenose in rear."  1921, Halifax Nova Scotia

From the collections of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM, Gloucester, Massachusetts

“Start of the first race of the International Race showing ‘Elsie’ in the lead with Bluenose in the rear” 1921 Halifax, Nova Scotia

Thanks to  Fred Buck for locating this photograph and sharing it with the Gloucester Schooner Festival committee.

From A Race for Real Sailors  The first ELSIE – BLUENOSE RACE.

_________ The two fairly flew across the water, all sails filled in the stiff quartering breeze and hulls rolling heavily in the deep chop.  “The end of Bluenose’s 80-ft. boom was now in the water, now halfway up to the masthead as she gained on her rival.  The Elsie rolled still harder and three times brought her main boom across the Bluenose’s deck, between the fore and main rigging.”  It was a constant battle for the weather berth, with members of both crews either handling lines or working aloft or hugging the windward rails.  Anyone daring to raise his head above the weather rail on Bluenose caught the caught the edge of Walter’s caustic tongue.  __________

A Race for Real Sailors is in stock at the Cape Ann Museum. 

The stirring and poignant tale is illustrated with 51 historical photographs and five maps, and rounded out by a glossary of sailing terms and an appendix of the ever-changing race rules. This is a story that will keep even confirmed landlubbers pegged to their seats, a tale of iron men and wooden ships whose time will never come again.

Al Bezanson

2 comments

  • See ghwalk story moment #21 Schooner Adventure. Then click on the link to listen to Stan Roger’s song set to video footage of the Bluenose racing the Gertrude L. Thibault and hear a scathing reference to “Gloucester boys” from the competition!

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  • Lise ….. I had missed that, and now I know, thanks to you. Scathing, yes, and on both sides through most of the years of the International Races. Keith McLaren’s book, A Race for Real Sailors, covers the intrigue in an even-handed way. ELSIE, built in 1911, ‘raced to fish.’ BLUENOSE and THEBAUD each had an element of ‘fished to race’ in their designs.

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