Eastern's Columbia on Display in Fort Lauderdale
Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s reengineered Columbia, built from the original design plans of the classic 1923 Essex-built schooner, will be on display at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, October 30-November 3, 2014.
The original Columbia, a 141’ classic Gloucester Fishing Schooner designed by William Starling Burgess, built at the historic A.D. Story shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts and launched April 17, 1923, was bred for speed, challenging – and nearly defeating – Canada’s legendary Bluenose schooner in the International Fishermen’s Cup Races in Halifax. Tragedy struck the Columbia on August 24, 1927 near Sable Island, the notorious “Graveyard of the Atlantic”, where the Columbia was lost with all hands in a gale.
After discovering Columbia’s original lines plan in the Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Massachusetts, Brian D’Isernia, owner of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) in Panama City, Florida, began pursuit of a lifelong dream when he decided to bring a piece of maritime history back to life. In early 2006, D’Isernia, researched the original Columbia’s history and made the commitment. He and his management staff, employees and subcontractors brought to life the design, engineering, purchased the materials and constructed an exact replica of the Columbia (ESG Hull 981).
The hull lines were redrawn from a copy of the original hand drawn lines plan using AutoCAD computer software by John W. Gilbert and Associates. The hull plate, its formed shapes and structure were electronically lofted, nested and numerically cut (NC) using ShipConstructor computer software along with 3D-modeling software at Eastern’s Allanton Engineering and Steel Processing Facility.
The vessel’s services, steering and propulsion systems were designed and installed for maximum efficiency when under sail or diesel power. There is a transverse bow thruster for ease of docking and undocking. The twin electrical power generation plants, switchgear and wiring were designed and installed meeting current marine regulatory requirements. Also installed are modern interior and exterior lighting, underwater lighting system, air-conditioning and heating and machinery space electric ventilation with plenty of thermal and acoustic insulation. The onboard electronics, communication and navigational equipment are state-of-the art with two 36 nautical mile radars, wind sensor, navigational LED lighting, electronic charting, electronic compass and autopilot for open water high performance sailing efficiency. The entertainment systems are interfaced with a VSAT broadband Satellite system with phone, entertainment and internet service.
Using today’s technology coupled with early 1900s craftsmanship, Eastern’s Team of shipbuilders, subcontractors and vendors collectively constructed and completed sailing trials of this new modern historic schooner on September 18, 2014 from Eastern’s Nelson Street Facility in Panama City, Florida.