On April 17, 1923, the original schooner Columbia was launched in Essex, Mass. Ninety-one years later, a steel replica of Columbia (ESG Hull 981) was launched at the Panama City, Fla., yard.
The launch was held on August 23, 2014 at Eastern’s Nelson Street facility with employees, dignitaries and guests in attendance. At the christening ceremony, Eastern Shipbuilding president Brian D’Isernia spoke about the journey of bringing Columbia back to life, the teamwork of the companies involved, and thanked the men and women that made it all possible.
The original Columbia was lost with all hands near Sable Island in 1927.
The original Columbia was a 141-foot Gloucester fishing schooner built at the historic A.D. Story shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts. Essex was the center for North American fishing schooner construction. Designed by the innovative William Starling Burgess, Columbia was designed for speed.
In the fall of 1923, Columbia challenged the Canadian schooner Bluenose in the International Fishermen’s Cup Races in Halifax. Columbia was narrowly defeated by Bluenose in the race.
Tragedy struck August 24, 1927 near Sable Island, the notorious “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” where Columbia was lost with all hands in a gale.
Decades later, D’Isernia discovered the original lines for Columbia at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Massachusetts. He took the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of bringing a significant piece of maritime history back to life when he decided that Eastern Shipbuilding should build a new version of Columbia in steel.