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Sailing/Loading cargo on a 19th century sailing ship


I appreciated your answer to a previous questioner along similar lines (re. animals). I am building a model of a 3 masted merchant schooner in the Tern class. They hauled lumber, cotton and coal along the Eastern seaboard. How was the lumber loaded from dockside into the ship? Typically, how many deck hatches would be on a schooner of 130-50 feet? How was the cargo unloaded once it reached its destination? Your answer to the other question was thorough and visual. I would appreciate any help you could extend on my question. Thank you.


On a recent trip up the Pacific Coast from LA to Crescent City (just south of the Oregon border) I got a real interest in the logging of the Redwoods.  ON a previous visit I stopped at a location south of San Fran along Big Sur where there were Redwoods that had been logged and burned to make portland cement for shipment to SF.  There was just a little embayment where the stuff was loaded onto schooners. Up north, they also used schooners and it was decades before railroads were built up into the timber areas.  Did you know that there were redwoods throughout the SF area and that the Mendicino and surrounding wine country were once covered with redwoods?  only 10% of the original stands still exist.  Well anyway, every rocky cove and inlet or headland along the north coast it seems was used as an adhoc loading point.  The link below shows pictures of the ships and loading devices.  They used chutes strung beneath cables or ropes that were lowered to the decks of the schooners that were tied up to bouys or secured with multiple anchors.  The sawn lumber was then slid down the chutes to the deck and stowed a piece at a time into the hold.  For water tightness from the pictures it looks like the number of hatchs were kept to a minimum.  It would be my guess that most ships were of similar design.  For east coast boats do some research on the cod fleet.  Schooners were after all, designed to be cod fishing boats, the low gunwales were designed that way to allow landing the large cod that were caught on hook and line by hand.  I imagine the rough seas of the N. Atlantic coast would have forced them to limit the number of hatches for water tightness as well.  The schooner's length and speed also was by design to get the catch to shore ahead of the other boats since the price per pound would plummet when a lot of boats landed and unloaded.   The book "Cod: The fish that changed the world" by Mark Curlanski is a great read and filled with a lot of great in formation and has some pictures of period schooners.

The link below, or just going to Google, search for loading a schooner, hit images netted quite a few photos of various ways they were loaded along the coasts.  A lot of non perishable shipping like lumber was just stacked on the deck.  A few docks used block and tackle while others used gangways and loaded stuff by hand.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41018144,d.b2U&biw=1266&bih=798&wrapid=tljp1358264269270076&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=23f1UK2GB-m62wWQ5oBw#um=1&hl=en&safe=off&tbo=d&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=loading+a+schooner&oq=loading+a+schooner&gs_l=img.12...1627.5626.1.6552.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=7f07c996786bfe9b&biw=1266&bih=798


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions regarding fresh and salt water Catamarran Sailing, techniques and equipment. I can also answer questions regarding the repair of decks and the updating and installation of running and standing rigging on mono-hulls


I have sailed catammarans in fresh and salt water for over 16 years. I currently own and sail a 30 ft monohull out of Kemah on Galveston Bay, on which I carried out a complete refit.

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