SHIPS & SHIPPING – The Famous Bluenose at the International Schooner Races in Halifax – 1931

The Famous Bluenose at the International Schooner Races Halifax 1931. Painting is based on a B&W photo from the race.

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This painting based on a vintage photo of The Bluenose at the inaugural International Fishermen’s Cup Race was held in the fall of 1920, and the Halifax Herald newspaper donated a trophy for the winner. The race was established for working fishing schooners; vessels had to have fished on the Grand Banks for at least one season to be eligible. Elimination races were held off the coasts of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Gloucester, Massachusetts, to select the challenger from each country. The two finalists then competed to win two out of three races for the cup. The American challenger, the Esperanto, won the trophy races in 1920 and sailed home with the prize. In response, a group from Nova Scotia decided to build a new schooner, giving it the long-standing nickname for Nova Scotians, “Bluenosers,” as a name. A local naval architect, William Roué, designed the Bluenose to be both a competitive racer and a practical fishing vessel. The Smith and Rhuland Shipyard in Lunenburg built the schooner. With an enthusiastic crowd looking on, the Bluenose was launched on March 26, 1921.
—-Started by Senator Dennis of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, who put up a trophy called the International Fishermen’s Trophy to be competed for by American and Canadian Fishing vessels. Only genuine fishing schooners with at least one seasons real fishing behind them could compete. No schooner yachts were allowed. First race set for October of 1920. The trials were held off of Halifax, N.S. and off Gloucester, MA. The first Int. Fishermen’s Race was held Oct., 1920 off Halifax, N.S., Canada. Two races were held. The two competing schooners were DELAWANA, a Canadian Lunenberg built fishing schooner skippered by Captain Thomas Himmelman and ESPERANTO, a Gloucester schooner, Gloucester built, skippered by Captain Marty Welch. Lunenberg schooners were built in the capacity of freighters and not for speed whereas the Gloucester schooners were built for speed. ESPERANTO won both races and Welch held the trophy for that year and $4,000 in prize money. Other races were held in October of 1921, October of 1922, October of 1923, and unofficially in October of 1931 and October of 1938.
After Jocelyn Snyder Freeman

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