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The Last Days of the Schooner America: A Lost Icon at the Annapolis Warship Factory

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The Last Days of the Schooner America: A Lost Icon at the Annapolis Warship Factory

By  David Gendell , Foreword by  Gary Jobson
$ 34.95
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The schooner America was a technological marvel and a child star. In the summer of 1851, just weeks after her launching at New York, she crossed the Atlantic and sailed to an upset victory against a fleet of champions. The silver cup she won that day is still coveted by sportsmen. Almost immediately after that famous victory, she began a decades-long run of adventure, neglect, rehabilitations, and hard sailing, always surrounded by colorful, passionate personalities. America ran and enforced wartime blockades. She carried spies across the ocean. And she was on the scene as yachtsmen and business titans spent freely and competed fiercely for the cup she first won. By the early twentieth century, she was in desperate need of a thorough refit. The old thoroughbred floated in brackish water at the United States Naval Academy, stripped of her sails and rotting in the sun. Refitting America would be a massive project--expensive and potentially distracting for a nation struggling to emerge from the Great Depression and preparing for a world war. But the project had a powerful sponsor.

On a windy evening in December 1940, the eighty-nine-year-old America was hauled "groaning and complaining" up a marine railway at Annapolis: the first physical step in a rehabilitation rumored to have been set in motion by President Franklin Roosevelt himself. The haul-out brought the famous schooner into the heart of the Annapolis Yacht Yard, a privately owned company with a staff capable of completing such a project, but with leadership determined to convert their facility into a modern warship production plant on behalf of the United States and its allies.

The Last Days of the Schooner America traces the history of the famous vessel, from her design, build, and early racing career through her lesser-known Civil War service and the never-before-told story of her final days and moments on the ground at Annapolis. The schooner's story is set against a vivid picture of the entrepreneurial forces behind the fast, focused rise of the Annapolis Yacht Yard as the United States prepares for and enters World War II. As wooden warships are built around her, America waits for a rehabilitation that would never happen. To bring this unique story to life, Annapolis sailor David Gendell delves into archival sources and oral histories and interviews some of the last living people who saw America at the Annapolis Yacht Yard.

Sailor and author David Gendell is an Annapolis native with an extensive sailboat racing background. In 1995, he cofounded SpinSheet, a Chesapeake Bay sailing magazine, and served as its editor for twelve years. In 2004, he cofounded PropTalk, a Chesapeake Bay powerboating magazine. Both magazines remain in production. He is a Coast Guard-licensed captain and the author of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse: A Chesapeake Bay Icon, the first and only book devoted to the 1875 lighthouse. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and is a frequent public speaker in the Chesapeake Bay region on the subjects of sailing and history.Gary Jobson served as tactician for Ted Turner's 1977 America's Cup Defense aboard Courageous. As a broadcast journalist, Jobson covered nine America's Cup matches for ESPN and won an Emmy award for his coverage of the 1988 Olympic Sailing event in South Korea. He is the author of twenty-one sailing books.

ISBN: 9781493084449

ISBN-10: 9781493084449

Publisher: Lyons Press

Publication Date: 08/06/2024 - 12:00am

On Sale: 08/06/2024 - 12:00am

Pages: 296

Language: English


Maritime History & Piracy

Military - Naval

United States - State & Local - Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD,