And a pretty schooner she is, despite her generally decrepit state. Essex shipwright Harold Burnham, Mary Kay Taylor, and a crew of friends picked up the 1911 schooner in Maine over the weekend. Burnham and Taylor are planning to restore the knockabout to her original splendor and when completed, the Sylvina W. Beal will be the oldest fishing vessel in the harbor.

Stopping by to take a few snapshots of the Sylvina Beal I ran into Maritime Gloucester Education Director Amanda Madeira and Education Coordinator Kelsey Bradford, along with Plum Cove fourth graders at the “crab lab.” Don’t you just love everything about Maritime Gloucester?!? There is always some outstanding maritime-related educational program or event taking place. We are so blessed to have this wonderful resource in our community!

Note- the Sea Pocket Aquarium has reduced hours after October 13th. For more information, visit the Maritime Gloucester website here.

Read more about the Schooner Sylvina W. Beal here.


The Mayor’s Schooner Festival Welcoming Reception was a fantastic success and wonderful fun. Maritime Gloucester’s dock was overflowing with Schooner Fest friends, well-wishers, and organizers. I think it was the most well attended ever and speaks to the growing success of Gloucester’s Schooner Festival (and to our Mayor’s charisma!).Mayor Sefatia welcomed Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Karen Polito, Schooner Bluenose II Captain Phil Watson and both Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and State Senator Bruce Tarr were in attendance.

Schooner Bluenose II Captain Watson and Captain Mark Ring of the FV Stanley Thomas

The Schooner Festival Committee is simply amazing. Below are listed the members of the committee. When you see any one of these super heroic volunteers around town, tell them thank you for the tremendous job they are doing in producing annually Gloucester’s uniquely beautiful and spectacular Schooner Festival.

Peter Bent, Daisy Nell, and Captain Stan

Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee:

Daisy Nell, Chair, Tracy Arabian, Peter Bent, Alan Bezanson, Ed Boynton, John Borzerelli, Harold Burnham, Jim Caulkett, Elizabeth Carey, TJ Ciarametaro, Charlie Clark, Stan Collinson, Michael Costello, Jo-Anne Crawford,  Lee Cunningham, Michaell De Koster, Carol Decker, Stefan Edick, Heath Ellis, Tom Ellis, Chad Johnson, Michael Lipton, James Lowell, Laura Lowell, Amanda Madeira, Allie McCarthy, John McCarthy, Judith Nast, Barry Pett, Christopher Ramsden, Brett Ramsey, Courtney Richardson, Ken Riehl, Suzanne Silveira , Russ Smith, Chris Stepler, Mary Kay Taylor, Brenda Treuhaft.

The Gloucester Schooner Festival committee thanks the following organizations for their tremendous support.

Art Harbor, b*true promotions,  Beauport Hospitality Group, Brown’s Yacht YardCape Ann Brewing CompanyCape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Cape Ann Museum,  Cape Ann Transportation AuthorityCape Ann YMCAThe Causeway RestaurantCity of Gloucester, MAThe Cricket PressCruiseport GloucesterEastern Point Yacht ClubEssex Radio & TV , Essex Shipbuilding MuseumFirst Ipswich Bank, Gaybrook Garage, The Gerondelis Foundation, Gloucester DPW,  The Gloucester Fund, Gloucester Harbormaster, Gloucester Police Department, Gloucester Rental CenterGood Morning GloucesterGorton’s of Gloucester , Intershell, Jodrey State Fish Pier, Maritime Gloucester, Market Basket , Mortillaro Lobster,  Donald Mosher GalleryNorth SailsThe Pewter ShopRose’s Marine , Russell OrchardsRyan & Wood Distilleries,  Schooner Adventure ,  Schooner Ardelle , Schooner Thomas E. LannonSea Scouts North Shore Ship 5,  Seafood Display Auction, Seaside GraphicsThe ShedTD BankTurtle Alley, USCG Cutter Grand Isle, USCG Sector Boston, and USCG Station Gloucester.

Visit the Gloucester Schooner Festival website here.

To donate, click here.




An outstanding group of citizens were recognized today by the Gloucester Historical Commission for their achievements in restoration, preservation, shipbuilding, education, outreach, stewardship, and documentation. Opening remarks were made by Mayor Romeo Theken. Co-chair Mary Ellen Lepoinka introduced the awardees. Congratulations to all the recipients for their great work, with an extra huge shout out to King brothers George and Charles.

The Gloucester Historical Commission are mayoral appointees. Commission members include co-chairs Bob Whitmarsh and Mary Ellen Lepoinka, Jeff Crawford, David Rhinelander (who is recovering from heart surgery and was unable to attend), Sandy Barry, Holly Clay, and Jude Seminara.

The recipients awarded for their stellar contributions to the beautiful community of Gloucester and Cape Ann are as follows:

Joseph Napolitano: Lifetime Achievement as a preservation contractor.

Sarah Dunlap: Lifetime Achievement as volunteer City archivist.

Harold Burnham: Local Preservationist, for his achievements in historic shipbuilding. Harold was unable to attend. His father Charles accepted the award for Harold.

Marietta Delahunt: Stewardship of the historic Sargent-Robinson House.

: Local preservationists, for their work on the Civil War coat.

Mariana Vaida: Rehabilitation and Restoration of 567 Essex Ave. by a preservation architect.

Gloucester Writers Center: Stewardship of the Maud/Olson Library in E. Gloucester.

Bing McGilvray: Education and Outreach, for his work on Cape Ann art history.

Captain Ray Bates: Education and Outreach, for his book on Cape Ann shipwrecks.

Christine & Paul Lundberg: Rehabilitation and Restoration of their Annisquam historic home.

Melanie & Mark Murray-Brown: Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Amos-Rackliffe House. Melanie was unable to attend and daughter Iona took her place.

John & Betty Erkkila: Documentation of Gloucester History, for their book on Lanesville.

George and Charles with friend Robert

Harold Burnham Refreshes ARDELLE for 2013 Season From Kathy Chapman

Harold Burnham, Master Shipwright and 2012 National Heritage Fellow performs yearly maintenance on his “pinky” schooner ARDELLE.

"During the season (May- October) the ARDELLE operates out of Maritime Gloucester daily for public and private sails and also serves as the research and educational vessel for the center."

– From their website:

Photos © Kathy Chapman 2013


Maine Boatbuilders Show with Harold Burnham

Al Bezanson submits-

The Maine Boatbuilders Show runs from March 15th  through the 17th in Portland.  This is  what Peter Spectre wrote in WoodenBoat, “the exhibits were real boats, and the parts for real boats, and service for real people, and the folks in attendance were real boat enthusiasts.”  The show takes place in a boatyard – the Portland Company, a complex of old wooden buildings.  It takes the better part of a day to work through the exhibits.  Schooner friends of mine from “away” have been gathering there for years for a weekend rendezvous.

The show includes a program of seminars and on Friday March 15th Harold Burnham will be making a presentation on “Building and Launching Ardelle” with photos from Dan Tobyne and video from Len Burgess.  This is my amateur shot of the launch.

                                                               (Ardelle splash.jpg)Ardelle splash

The MBBS features all kinds of exhibits you won’t find at the likes of a Boston boat show.  Here is another real person who exhibits there – Mudd Sharrigan, age 86, champion swimmer and maker of seaman’s knives.  He has no website and this is the only place he exhibits.  Mudd was a legend in the early 50’s amongst us early hotrodders.  Now he lives in Wiscasset.  I sailed up the Sheepscot for a visit to his little home shop a couple years ago.  Mudd crafts every detail of these knives and sheaths by hand.

                                                              (Mudd’s shop.jpg)Mudd's shop

Mudd on the right with my shipmate Jay Irwin.

                                                               (Mudd Seamans Knife.jpg)Mudd Seamans Knife

Mudd’s seaman’s knife.  He has hand crafted close to 700 of these.

                                                      (Seaman’s knife from Harley chain.jpg)Seaman's knife from Harley chaiin

This was a drive chain on a Harley before Mudd forged it.  If you want a handle fashioned from an old schooner he has a collection of remnants from the four masters, Hester and Luther Little that use to nestle in the mud below the Route 1 bridge. 

Check it out.  And if you go be sure to have lunch at the show.  Real food for real people at realistic prices.

Al Bezanson

Harold Burnham and his crew returned on the Schooner Ardelle from Washington, D.C. Photos From Len Burgess

Harold Burnham and his crew returned on the Schooner Ardelle from Washington, D.C. Tuesday afternoon, with friends and family welcoming them back at the Maritime Gloucester Center.

Click below for slideshow


Ardelle Update From Len Burgess and Mike Dyer Also Harold Burnham’s podcast interview by Josephine Reed for the NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awards


Ardelle’s Arrival in Washington, D.C.

Len writes-

The stalwart crew of the Pinky Schooner Ardelle arrive in Washington, D.C. to deliver Captain Harold H. Burnham to the NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awards. Mike Dyer just sent up pictures and stories which are in the new album in the Essex Shipbuilding Museum’s Facebook.

Thank you, Mike! Mike tells me that there will be stories when they return. Stay tuned for updates!

Listen to Harold Burnham’s podcast interview by Josephine Reed for the NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awards. -LB

One Year Anniversary of the Launch of the Schooner Ardelle From Len Burgess

Great weather Monday night for a special sail to celebrate the launch of the schooner Ardelle. It was one year ago last July 9, 2011 that the schooner splashed down into the Essex river in front of about 2500 people. It was a textbook Essex side launch that occurred at high tide about 6 p.m in the evening. What a sight is was. And, a year later here’s Capt. Harold Burnham’s doing what he loves! It would not have been possible without the amazing help of all of the shipwrights, friends and family who helped build and launch the Ardelle!

Harold lights a candle for the cake that celebrates the one year anniversary of the launch of the schooner Ardelle.


Shipwrights, friends, family and crew gather aboard for a special night


Tom and Kay Ellis of the schooner Lannon sailed close by firing a salute with their cannon and guests sing Happy Birthday to the Ardelle.


Friends, shipwright and our most awesome cook, Cathy and Bruce Slifer sail past during the song! They should have been on board!


Zack the young apprentice who was the only one onboard the Ardelle when it was launched last year was Harold’s crew for the night.


Steve reads a tribute to Harold and the Ardelle.


Bernie Noon was at the Helm most of the evening


Harold did video interviews during the sail with some of his loyal helpers.


Photos and a quick note from Laurie Fullerton and Harold Burnham

Hi Joey,

Thanks for posting those amazing photos of the Ardelle at dawn and others…I have been putting them on our Facebook page but they are really terrific.

Harold’s daughter Perry Ardelle Burnham (boat was named after her and Harold’s grandmother) took this photo yesterday of the Lannon sailing closely past the Ardelle. We are hoping to have some evening schooner racing this summer…and I do like this pic. Not sure if you can use it but thought I would send it along.

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement!

Happy Memorial Day.

Laurie Fullerton and Harold Burnham


Adventure Spars From Mike Dyer

Mike Dyer writes-

A small crew has been working on making replacement spars for the Schooner Adventure, at Harold Burnham’s yard in Essex.  Right now we’re working on the main boom.  These pics show a series of steps for putting together laminations of 12” X 2” Douglas Fir planks.  Note: we’re not done yet!

setting up the jig


Bruce and Bernie cutting a series of scarfs on the stacked planks using a chain saw on a frame fit over the jig.


Bernie after the first cut.


the rough scarfs, later to be planed smooth and for the right fit.


Bruce showing his clamped scarf joint.


epoxied planks ready to go.


all clamped up.


Harold Burnham’s Shop


Random Business Tweet of The Day- Laurie Fullerton Tweets About The Schooner Ardelle and Harold Burnham


Part of the random local business tweet initiative I’ve started to encourage more local businesses to engage people through social media.  Every day a different tweet selected as an example to put a brand in front of people while offering some type of payoff.  Whether it be a laugh, a deal or something that leaves the end user glad they clicked through (the proper use of twitter)

Here’s the random local tweet of the day.  Click it!-


Logs from Hog Island for the Schooner Adventure

Photos From Len Burgess

Feb. 27, 2012
Harold Burnham with Steve and Bruce are towing rough-cut logs back to Harold’s Essex Shipbuilding yard to be made into spars and gaffs for the Schooner ‘Adventure’. Harold and crew had cut and trimmed trees down last week on Hog island for the project.

–Len Burgess

Harold&Skiff 2-12_0684Harold&Skiff2-12_0688Harold&Skiff2-12_0691Harold&Skiff2-12_0694

Check out the Schooner Adventure Website Here and their live webcam here where you can see it at it’s berth at the East Gloucester Marine Railways.



Mike Dyer Ardelle Launch Photos

She goes in!


Steve Willard, “paint master”, with Ardelle on mooring in background


Harold Burnham adjusting bilge block before the launch


The Ardelle on launch morning


The garland arrives, just before the launch


Harold relaxes afterward with a friend


Bob Brophy carves “Gloucester, MA” on the stern


The crew starts work on the port side “car”, upon which Ardelle will lean for the “Essex side launch”


Unique Essex Side Launch of Wooden Schooner Ardelle Set for Today July 9th and Ardelle Photos From Len Burgess

The "Ardelle" getting ready for the Launch on Saturday.
Shot this from the "Lewis Story", the Shipbuilding Museum Schooner, coming home to
Essex for the "Ardelle" celebration on Wednesday.
-Len Burgess


Vessel Will Careen Down the Ways and Hit the Essex River Basin with a Splash

Laurie Fullerton writes-

On Saturday, July 9 between 6 and 7 p.m. a historic Essex side launch of a 50-foot double sawn frame, two-masted, wooden schooner will take place at the Burnham Boatyard in Essex, MA. Ardelle was built by Harold Burnham, 44, of Essex who is an eleventh generation Master Shipwright. He will launch the vessel using the Essex side launch – where the massive schooner is literally leaned on its side and sent careening into the river basin.
Burnham is part of a shipbuilding legacy that dates back to the first settlers of Essex in the 1600s. With Essex’s long history as a shipbuilding town, where generations of shipwrights built vessels on the banks of the Essex River using the unique Essex side launch technique over three centuries..

"Essex shipwrights always used the simplest method they could to get the finished boat out of the way of the one they were about to start," said Burnham "The most popular method in Essex was called a side launch. Side launches were carried out by just leaning the vessels over onto a single way and skating them into the water on their own keel and one bilge."

"Of course, in today’s world the idea of sending a hundred tons of oak sliding on one side over smoking grease sounds dangerous, but that is only because we don’t do it much anymore. Just imagine the looks you would get from a 19th-century shipbuilder if you tried to explain to him what it is like to pass a car on an undivided highway. The truth is that of the approximately 3,300 vessels launched in Essex, we know of none that was seriously damaged in a launching accident. Further, there is no record of anyone being seriously hurt or killed at one of our launchings, either.

Len Burgess Photos-

Final preparations for the launch on Saturday.
Len Burgess