Let me tell you about the Mary E
Shown in Northport Harbor, NY
Nov. 17, 2009 

 While the Mary E is based in Essex, CT, she can easily be found in Greenport, Long Island, NY during the summer months and on this day, I saw her at Northport Harbor when I went downtown for a walk - with my camera in the car!

The Mary E is a 75 foot, 100 year old schooner, Greenport’s official tall ship in fact, captained by jazz great Teddy Charles.

She was built in 1906 byThomas E. Hagan

She is the lone survivor of more than 4,000 wooden sailing vessels that were built in the Bath, Maine area. She is the last wooden vessel built in Bath before Bath Iron Works took over the ship building industry in Maine.

The Mary E was originally sailed by Capt. Dunn of Newport, Rhode Island, and plied the Block Island waters for 38 years as a fishing and cargo schooner. She was also active in passenger and mail service, as well as a transporter of illegal goods and liquors during prohibition.

In 1944, the Mary E was sold and converted into a motorized dragger. She sailed under a number of different owners for the next 20 years until a Thanksgiving Day hurricane in 1963 sank her in Lynn Harbor, Massachusetts.
The Mary E lay in the mud for two years until a Shipwright and logger, William R. Donnell II, the great-great grandson of the original designer purchased her in the summer of 1965 from Al Gleason.

Mr. Donnell towed her back to Bath off the stern of the charter fishing boat, "Hey Babe", and began a restoration that would consume the next two years of his life.

This restoration included a restored 471 Detroit Diesel, along with spars and rigging that required numerous expert boatmen from the Deer Isle- Stonnington area. 

Having used seaweed to plug the holes after she was pumped dry, Mr. Donnell enlisted the help of friends to muck out the mud and clean off the barnacles.
The restored Mary E was the first historic schooner to be certified as a USCG passenger vessel.

 Here she temporarily raised her foresail.

In 1970, the vessel entered the hands of Robert Morse of Morse Marine in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  She sailed with day and overnight passengers. 
Soon after, she changed hands yet again, and in the early 1970's Teddy Charles, a famous jazz vibraphonist, found himself behind the wheel, steering her toward the New York area from Boothbay, Maine.

 Me with the Mary E

The Mary E operated out of South Street Seaport (NYC) for awhile.  When the South Street Museum purchased its own fleet, she moved on to the Seven Seas Sailing Club out of City Island, New York. The sailing club brought sailing to many people of New York City who could not afford to own their own boats.
 At the start of the season in 1994 she suffered a fire below decks during the night. Her crew worked hard and rebuilt the charred interior. With Capt Ted at the helm, the Mary E sailed winter voyages to Key West, Florida in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2001.

In 2006 Matt Culen and Captain Eric Van Dormolen began another restoration, forty years after the original began in Bath.

This effort continues today with updating and restoration utilizing traditional methods.
The Mary E continues to sail out of the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. Since her original keel was laid, she has performed a magnitude of different jobs that have only added to her prestige and proud tradition. They keep that tradition alive with Pirate Birthdays and wine tasting sails. They travel from Baltimore to Maine to work with any interested parties. 

The Mary E sails daily for around $38/person and you can help hoist sails, take the helm or just hang out and relax.  


NOTE:  The Mary E will be in Northport Harbor again on May 26, 2010 for an evening sail from 6-8pm!

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