In 1964, the schooner Shenandoah was launched from the railway of Harvey Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol, Maine. Designed to maintain the excellence from “America’s Golden Age of Sail”, she brought the excitement and traditions of clipper ships to the public. The Shenandoah is a 108′ square topsail schooner with no auxiliary power, thereby making her unique in the American schooner fleet. Designed by Capt. Robert S. Douglas himself, she was specifically built for the passenger trade. She has sailed carrying passengers since the Coastwise Packet Company’s beginning in 1964. Her hull form and rig, anchors, and all materials of construction adhere closely to mid 19th century practices.
Captain Douglas states, “I wanted to recreate a vessel true to the standard of the best ship’s that ever sailed under the American flag. I designed each aspect of her to not only achieve this, but also to make her a joy to sail and to live aboard.”
The Shenandoah is truly a one-of-a-kind vessel, in that she is the world’s only non-auxiliary square-topsail schooner, as well as claiming the longest-standing captain and schooner tandem in the nation. Both of these accolades create an environment and experience onboard Shenandoah unmatched by any other to recreate, maintain and most importantly, to teach the traditions of an age-gone-by.
Captain Robert S. Douglas
Captain Robert S. Douglas owns Coastwise Packet Co. He has the longest standing schooner/captain relationship in the windjammer business. No one else has skippered his Shenandoah since its launching in 1964. Captain Douglas is highly regarded in maritime circles, primarily due to his success with the design and operation of Shenandoah and more recently for the rebuilding of the Alabama. Increasingly he is being used as a nautical historian of sorts and his personal collection of maritime items, artwork, and research materials is approaching museum-like status. A trip into the offices at Coastwise Packet is a journey through watercraft history that stalls visitors and contractors alike.