Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a new firm was established in Bath, Maine, at a time when established yards in the City of Ships were turning to steel construction. Percy & Small would set unrivaled records for wooden shipbuilding and ship management, launching 22 giant five- and six-masted schooners (along with 16 four-masters) in two decades.
Not just builders, Percy & Small also demonstrated an unusual knack for making money as managing owners of a large fleet of schooners, and the stories of their ships are told in these pages in wonderful detail, from the wooing of potential shareholders and the elaborate launching festivities (with one schooner stuck on the ways) to deeply laden coal schooners struggling to stay off the lee shore, daring captains navigating treacherous shoals, and the perils of collisions, dismastings, fires, and enemy submarines.
At sea in a storm, a giant six-master heavy with coal needed great strength to survive. Percy & Small developed specialized shipbuilding techniques that pushed the wooden hull to its limits when the rest of the world had turned to steel construction. Doug Lees meticulously researched construction drawings add immeasurably to the technical information presented in this book. Maritime enthusiasts and modelmakers will find a wealth of information here.
Award: Outstanding Academic Titles, 1999" (Choice )