Saturday, August 23, 2014
Bluenose was a Canadian fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921. A celebrated racing ship and hard-working fishing vessel, Bluenose under the command of Angus Walters became a provincial icon for Nova Scotia and an important Canadian symbol in the 1930s. She was later commemorated by a replica Bluenose II built in 1963; leaking and worn out, it was dismantled in 2010, and rebuilt in the same shipyard as its ancestors in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and launched in 2013. The name "bluenose" originated as a nickname for Nova Scotians from as early as the late 18th century.
Designed by William Roué and built by Smith and Rhuland, Bluenose was launched at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on March 26, 1921, and christened by Audrey Marie Smith. She was built to be a racing ship and fishing vessel, in response to the defeat of the Nova Scotian Fishing Schooner Delawana by the Gloucester, Massachusetts fishing schooner Esperanto in 1920, in a race sponsored by the Halifax Herald newspaper.
After a season fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland under the command of Angus Walters, Bluenose defeated Elsie (out of Gloucester), returning the International Fishermen's Trophy to Nova Scotia. In 1930, off Gloucester, Massachusetts, she was defeated 2–0 in the inaugural Sir Thomas Lipton International Fishing Challenge Cup by perhaps her most celebrated competitor, the Gertrude L. Thebaud. However, over the next 17 years of racing, no challenger, American or Canadian, could wrest the International Fishermen's Trophy from her.
She was no mere racing ship, but also a general fishing craft that was worked hard throughout her lifetime. She fished cod and other kinds of groundfish, and at least once won competitions for largest catches of the season and similar awards.
Fishing schooners became obsolete during the 1930s, displaced by motor schooners and trawlers. Despite efforts to keep her in Nova Scotia led by Capt. Walters, Bluenose was sold to work as a freighter in the West Indies. Laden with bananas, she struck a coral reef off Île à Vache, Haiti on January 28, 1946. Wrecked beyond repair, with no loss of life, she was abandoned on the reef.
Various divers and film makers have claimed to have found the wreck of Bluenose, most recently in June 2005 by divers from the Caribbean Marine Institute searching for Henry Morgan's ship HMS Oxford. However the large number of wrecks on the reef at Île à Vache and the scattered condition of the wreckage has made identification difficult.