The Schooner Alabama
The schooner Alabama is a living piece of America’s maritime history. Built in 1926 for the Mobile, Alabama Bar Pilots, she served until her retirement in 1966. She is not a replica, a ship built to emulate the style of past generations, but rather a design of Thomas F. McManus, a man widely regarded as the best designer of all the Gloucester fishing schooners.
Alabama’s second phase of her life began when the Coastwise Packet Company and its owner, Robert Douglas purchased and brought her to Vineyard Haven in 1967. Never fitted out as a sailing vessel by the Mobile Pilots, she was finally given this opportunity thirty years later when it was decided to put her back to work in 1994.
The rebuild that was a result of this decision lasted over three years and replaced almost 90% of her original form. As with the Shenandoah, Captain Douglas gave every consideration to her construction and the result is a vessel true to the era and design of McManus. The fishing schooner was an American invention, and the Alabama represents the finest vessels from this area when ships like her were relied on to provide the country with the staple of its economy, codfish.