Hero of Vineyard Schooner Grounding Remembered
September 21, 2011
MVTimes.com: At the beginning of the 20th century, boat building reached new heights. From 1900 to 1910, ten 6-masted wooden schooners were built in New England. Launched in 1907, the Mertie B. Crowley was one of them. She was 412’ long from tip to stern, 48’ wide, and had 6 masts of 122’ in height, with additional topmasts of 58’.
These huge schooners were designed and built specifically to carry cargoes up and down the East Coast. Considered more efficient than railway shipping, these vessels sailed past Martha’s Vineyard on a regular basis. The journey to Boston meant a journey around the islands and the Cape, because the Cape Cod Canal did not exist at that time. Construction for the canal began in 1909, opened on a limit basis in 1914, and was completed in 1916. The canal shortened the route from New York to Boston by 62 miles. It also changed forever the view from the Vineyard of the large schooners passing by and reduced the use of Vineyard Haven Harbor, once one of the busiest ports along the coast.