NEW KID ON THE BLOCK – CANADA’S ARCTIC TALL SHIP, NORTH STAR INDUCTED INTO THE NW PASSAGE HALL OF FAME

Arctic Ship Northstar

 

Nov 6, 2018

Canada’s Arctic tall ship, North Star of Herschel Island, was inducted into the NW Passage Hall of Fame at the Annual Arctic Awards Gala at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The ship is currently moored at the Vancouver Maritime Museum’s Heritage Harbour.

North Star is the last of the sailing ships involved in Canada’s Arctic fur trade, originally owned and operated by two Inuit trappers from 1935 until 1961 she was subsequently chartered by both the Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau governments to assert Canadian Arctic sovereignty.

Quite a bit of history here: She is the only fully rigged ship in Canada, meaning that she crosses squares on each of her three masts. Sails can be handled from on deck and it is possible for the ship to be sailed single-handedly. NSHI was built in 1935 in San Francisco at the Geo. W. Kneass shipyard and shipped to the Arctic aboard the 600-ton trading ship Patterson. She had originally been built for two Inuit fox trappers. She was used from 1936 to 1961 for transport of the winter’s catch of fur to market in early August and for transportation of supplies from Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk to Sachs Harbour on Banks Island in late August and early September— when ice conditions permitted sea navigation. Except for three winters frozen in the ice, each NSHI was hauled onto the beach and launched the following spring using three purchase tackle and hand winched by the whole village over skids of freshly killed seals.

NorthstarNCHI was left on the beach in 1961 when cargo flights took over the transportation and remained on the beach until 1968. She was purchased by her second owner in 1967 and refit for navigation in the Beaufort Sea. From 1968 until 1973 she was used for scientific investigations in the Arctic Ocean. Subsequent voyages included surveying the British Columbia Alaska boundary, ecological adventures, sail training and searching for mermaids.
Recently she served as the Canadian Goodwill Ambassador at an International tall ships festival.

For further information please visit: https://vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/news/north-star-herschel-island.

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