Bluenose was a Canadian schooner from Nova Scotia, a celebrated racing ship (and hard-working fishing vessel) and a symbol of the province. The name "bluenose" originated as a nick-name for Nova Scotians.
The Bluenose was designed by William Roué and built by Smith and Rhuland, and was launched at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on March 26, 1921, as a racing ship and fishing vessel. This was in response to the defeat of the Nova Scotian Fishing Schooner Delawana by the Gloucester fishing schooner Esperanto in 1920. That race was sponsored by the Halifax Herald newspaper.
After a season fishing on the Grand Banks, Bluenose defeated Elsie (out of Gloucester, Massachusetts), returning the International Fishermen's Trophy to Nova Scotia. During the next 17 years of racing, no challenger, American or Canadian, could wrest the International Fishermen's Trophy from her. It is notable that she was no mere racing ship, but also a general fishing craft that was worked hard throughout her lifetime. She fished scallops and other kinds of sea-food, and at least once won competitions for largest catches of the season and similar awards.
Fishing schooners became obsolete after World War II, and despite efforts to keep her in Nova Scotia, the undefeated Bluenose was sold to work as a freighter in the West Indies. She floundered on a Haitian reef on January 28, 1946.
Bluenose and her captain, Angus Walters, were inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, making her the first and only non-human CSHF inductee until 1960, when she was joined by Canadian Hydroplane Champion Miss Supertest III. That same year another honour was bestowed upon the famous sailing ship when a new Canadian National Railways passenger-vehicle ferry for the inaugural Yarmouth-Bar Harbor service was launched as the M/V Bluenose.
Bluenose, under full sail, is portrayed on the 1929 Canadian Bluenose postage stamp as well as on two other stamps issued in 1982 and 1999 and also appears on the current Nova Scotia licence plate. The depiction of a generic schooner on the Canadian dime has for years been commonly known as the Bluenose. In 2002, the government of Canada declared the depiction on the dime to be the Bluenose.
Her daughter, Bluenose II, was launched at Lunenburg on July 24, 1963, built to original plans by many of the same workers. She cost 8,600 to build and was financed by the Oland Family as a marketing tool for their brewery operations in Halifax and Saint John. Her popularity led to her being sold to the government of Nova Scotia which in turn gave possession of the ship to the "Bluenose II Preservation Trust". The trust's mandate was to restore the aging and poorly maintained ship to full operational status and to operate her for the people of Nova Scotia. Over the winter of 1994-95 the trust restored the ship’s hull, leading to her being recommissioned in May 1995. The trust maintained and operated Bluenose II until 31 March 2005, when the government of Nova Scotia placed the vessel under the management of the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society.
The Bluenose II serves as a goodwill ambassador, tourist attraction in Lunenburg, and symbol of the province. During the summer, she visits ports all around Nova Scotia and frequently sails to other ports on the eastern seaboard.
In honour of her predecessor, Bluenose II does not officially race.
Bluenose II's mainsail measures 386 m² (4,155 ft²) and she has a total sail area of 1036 m² (11,150 ft²).
Funds for the operation of the ship are raised through charging for passage on the vessel, public donations, and sales in the Fisheries Museum Gift Shop (in Lunenburg), run by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society.
Izak J H Hough
Member of The Nautical Research Guild