Covey Island Boatworks Joins the “Columbia” Project


One of the companies that is currently sharing its marine-industry talents in the restoration of Canada's sailing icon, Bluenose II, will soon be putting that same remarkable expertise to work to help re-create one of the famed schooner's greatest rivals.

Covey Island Boatworks is pleased to announce that it will be providing all ten of the spars, standing and running rigging, mast hoops and rig metal work for the schooner Columbia, a replica of the 140-foot schooner that sailed out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, in the 1920s.

“We are delighted to be part of the new Columbia project,” said Covey Island Boatworks president John Steele. “This vessel, and its historic connection to the Fishermen's Cup Races, to the Bluenose and so to Lunenburg, makes it an honour for our company to have been chosen.” he added.

The Eastern Shipbuilding Group, based out of Panama City, Florida, is building the replica schooner Columbia.

Covey Island will be working in partnership with EYE Marine Consultants of Dartmouth and Capt. Dan Moreland to engineer and design the rig and Michele Stevens Sailloft Ltd., of Second Peninsula, Nova Scotia who will be providing the sails for Columbia.

A. Dauphinee & Sons will be producing the 100-plus traditional blocks required. LaHave Marine Woodwork is to provide the mast hoops and Standfast Fittings of Blue Rocks will fabricate the stainless steel mast fittings.

“This is a very high-profile project, which will showcase the wide range of talent this community has to offer the marine industry. We were chosen because of our knowledge and experience with traditional schooners and also our ability to put such a complex package together in one place.” Mr. Steele noted.

A Gloucester fishing schooner, the original Columbia was launched in the spring of 1923, with the intent of having her participate in the International Fishermen's Cup Races. That year, she came very close to capturing the title from the original Bluenose.

Angus Walters, who captained Bluenose during those heady days of schooner racing, remarked that Columbia was the best fishing schooner that the Americans ever produced.

The legacy of the original Columbia, however, was unexpectedly cut short when she was lost off Nova Scotia during the August Gales of 1927, with all hands.

“To be involved with both Bluenose and Columbia at the same time is a very exciting prospect. There's so much history and tradition with both vessels,” Mr. Steele said, “and they're so intrinsically linked to our home here in Lunenburg. This is a tremendous opportunity for our company — and the others involved in both these projects.” For more information, please visit Covey Island online at

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