Life at Sea

Captain Lincoln Alden Colcord Relaxing

Capt. Lincoln Alden Colcord relaxes on a divan in the captain's cabin aboard the ship State of Maine, as photographed by his daughter, Joanna, in 1899.

Captain Wylie R. Dickinson and Family aboard Ship Aryan

Launched in Phippsburg in 1893, the Bath owned Aryan was the last wooden full-rigged ship to be built in America. The ship's first captain was Capt. Wylie R. Dickinson, seated on the left in this carefully posed photograph. To his left are his wife and daughter.

The Shipmaster's Assistant

The Shipmaster's Assistant was first published in 1837 and updated regularly. It gave a captain information on handling a crew, a ship, its cargo, ship's business, and foreign port requirements. The publisher, the Blunt company, was started by Edmund Blunt in Newburyport in 1796, then moved to New York in 1811 and carried on by his sons. They were the publishers of the Coast Pilot, the American Practical Navigator, and charts; and were the premier American 19th century professional nautical publishers.

Landing at Sunda Strait

Landing a boat at Sunda Strait, photographed by Joanna Colcord aboard the ship State of Maine in 1900. Sunda Strait is the passage between Java and Sumatra, and it is the gateway between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

Captain Lincoln A. Colcord

Capt. Lincoln A. Colcord standing at the taffrail of the ship State of Maine, taken by his daughter, Joanna Colcord while sailing off the Cape of Good Hope in 1900. The taffrail log ( the ship's speedometer) is spinning fast. Captain Colcord 's grin as he drives his ship at speed was certainly shared by his fellow Down Easter captains.

State of Maine was built in Newcastle in 1878 by Ebenezer Haggett for a consortium of Searsport captains who had two other Down Easters built by Haggett.

Routes to China during SW Monsoons

Map in book showing the best sailing routes to go to the Far East, during the SW Monsoon season from May to September.

From The Seaman's Guide to the Navigation of the Indian Ocean and China Sea by W.H. Rosser and J.F. Imray, 1867.

Captain's Cabin, Bark Harvard

Capt. Lincoln Alden Colcord's cabin on board the Boston owned bark Harvard. The woodwork was a product of her Newburyport builders, while the rattan furniture and other items were bought in China. At sea, much of this would be put away. Cabin interiors were built by special carpenters called joiners who often set up the paneling in a shop ashore.

This photograph was taken in 1894 when the ship was in port by Capt. Colcord's brother-in-law, Frederick Sweetser.

Hold of a Down Easter

This photograph shows the large volume of a Down Easter available for cargo. There is another deck below for carrying more. The L-shaped pieces of wood called hanging knees support the deck beams and resist twisting. They are typically made from the hackmatack trees of Maine. The hackmatack (or tamarack or larch) root leaves the trunk at a right angle, creating wood with a grain that bends in an L. Similar L-shaped pieces between the deck beams are called lodging knees.

Pa and Mate Taking the Sun aboard the Bark Carrie Winslow

Every good day at sea includes taking a sun sight at noon, to find the vessel's latitude. With a good chronometer, one can also find one's longitude. Here Capt. Adelbert Montgomery and the First Mate are "shooting the sun" or getting the sun's altitude using a sextant.

The photograph was taken by the captain's daughter, Ruth Montgomery aboard the Portland owned bark Carrie Winslow in 1898.

Newspaper Ocean Chronicle

This newspaper Ocean Chronicle, like its predecessor, Pill Garlic, was written and published at sea over a course of years by Captain Edward Payson Nichols, aboard ship. This issue was published aboard the ship Frank Pendleton in 1891. This was purportedly the only newspaper published at sea on a sailing vessel.


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