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Shoal draft, low building cost, and
substantial cargo capacity for
their size were the driving forces
behind the scow schooner. Usu-
ally flat bottom and of heavy
cross-plank construction, they
were popular on the U.S. West
Coast, Gulf Coast and in places
on the Northeast, where
built in Martha’s Vineyard. In the
Massachusetts Bay, these schoo-
ners were often used to haul
stone. Framing was massive, with
enormous timbers held together
with numerous large drift bolts
and spikes.
Different regions had different
nicknames for these vessels:
“square-toe frigates,” in the
Northeast, but “but-heads,” in the
There were also Great Lake’s
scow schooners, and scow schoo-
ners out of New Zealand. A few
scow schooners have been de-
signed as yachts, by designers Bill
Garden and Billy Atkin, among
Lily of Tisbury
, at this
is based in Stuart,
Florida. She’s available for char-
ter, so you can actually go for a
sail on one of these boat. In fact,
is the last boat (or one of the
last) purpose-built for hauling
cargo under sail alone in the U.S.
To learn more about
and to
arrange a charter, go to:
Treasure Coast Sailing Adven-
Photos by Nick Di Matteo, Westlawn Instructor