Boats have been a passion of mine since I was a boy, and it is now greater than ever! Early in 1994 I decided to build a scale replica of the Julia A. Johnson from the lines taken from the builder’s half-hull. While I was building this model it dawned on me that little had been done to collect information on schooners built in Newfoundland and that this information was disappearing quickly. I decided then that I would collect drawings of half-hull models, reproduce and compile photographs, and tape interviews with people who had direct experience with building and sailing schooners.
Information on our schooners is critical to understanding the way of life of our ancestors because schooners were central to every activity in the traditional out-port community. These vessels either directly or indirectly reflected the work, the social structure, the politics, and the economics of the community; and were the only link to the outside world. They were personified, recognized by their silhouette across the ocean and spoken of as old friends. On one hand, schooners were exalted as the provider to the families and the community, and the other hand they were revered as the taker of life.