Tags Posts tagged with "Schooner"


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The Schooner Restaurant was once a familiar sight on West Broadway in Port Jefferson. Formerly the yacht Ilikamo, the vessel was brought to the village in 1946, placed on land and converted into a distinctive eatery. The restaurant was razed in April 1968. Photo from Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

By Kenneth Brady

The Schooner, once advertised as Long Island’s most novel restaurant, was a waterfront landmark in Port Jefferson from 1946 through 1968.

Located on the south side of West Broadway (Route 25A), the eatery was the brainchild of brothers Charles and Elmer Mapp who had found the schooner yacht Ilikamo languishing in a Riverhead, New York, boatyard.

Taken with the Ilikamo’s graceful lines, the Mapps purchased the 44-ton ship, which they had towed to the west side of Port Jefferson Harbor and brought ashore for remodeling.

Transformed into a distinctive restaurant, the Ilikamo was then moved to a site on West Broadway and placed on a concrete foundation.

Sitting on land, her days on the seas over, the Ilikamo had reached her final destination, but surprisingly the ship’s last voyage was not her first to Port Jefferson.

Built in 1899 at Rice Brothers in East Boothbay, Maine, the Ilikamo was formerly the yawl Regina. In 1901, the 61-foot Regina was converted into a schooner yacht at Port Jefferson’s Bayles Shipyard, just one of the pleasure craft’s many ties with the village.

Later renamed Sita and ultimately Ilikamo, the luxurious schooner yacht regularly visited Port Jefferson during the early twentieth century, often returning to Bayles Shipyard where she was hauled out for repairs and laid up for the winter.

Over the years, sailing under her different names, the ship cruised along the east coast of North America, never straying too far from Long Island’s waters.

By summer 1940, the Ilikamo was under the command of William J. Marshall of Greenport, anchored in Southold Bay and being used as a training ship for Sea Scouts, the maritime branch of the Boy Scouts.

Marshall enlisted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) before America’s entry into World War II and died of natural causes in 1944 while serving as a lieutenant. He was the Ilikamo’s last documented owner before the Mapps brought the ship to Port Jefferson.

Sensitive to the yacht’s rich and varied history, the Mapps were careful to preserve many of the craft’s original features while preparing the ship for its new life as a landlocked restaurant. With the yacht’s character intact, the Schooner opened on Oct. 26, 1946.

The entrance to the dining room, as well as a service counter for takeout, were located on the port side of the restaurant. The menu featured standard fare with the emphasis on short-order selections with nautical names, such as “Sea-Pups (small meatballs).”

Adding to its curb appeal, the sides of the Schooner were painted in gleaming white. Two masts towered over the restaurant; their “sails” outlined at night by strings of electric lights that could be seen by ships passing in Long Island Sound.

In 1949, the Mapps sold the Schooner to Rose Ceperano of Poquott, who over time made several changes at the eatery. Among the improvements, she expanded the menu, enlarged the kitchen, added a covered patio for outdoor dining and constructed small outbuildings on the grounds. Ceperano also closed the restaurant during the winter months, reopening in the spring.

Although she initially ran the Schooner as a family business, Ceperano subsequently leased the establishment. Called “Tom’s Schooner,” the eatery broadened its menu to include Italian cuisine.

Wer-Kay Realty Corporation purchased the Schooner from Ceperano in January 1968. After the eatery was razed that April, the New Schooner Restaurant was built on the cleared land. The site is now home to SāGhar Indian Fusion Restaurant.

Kenneth Brady has served as the Port Jefferson Village Historian and president of the Port Jefferson Conservancy, as well as on the boards of the Suffolk County Historical Society, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and Port Jefferson Historical Society. He is a longtime resident of Port Jefferson.

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Brian Murphy, the captain of the Ginny Marie, brought his schooner into Port Jefferson this past week. Photo by Kyle Barr

The 39-foot schooner Ginny Marie has made its temporary home in Port Jefferson, leaving another tally for community members, officials and historians trying to bring in tall ships to the historic harbor.

The Ginny Marie at dock. Photo by Kyle Barr

Captain of the Ginny Marie, Brian Murphy, is a Northport resident and retired Stony Brook University Hospital nurse of 16 years. He said he wanted to bring in this boat to share his love of being out on the water at the mercy of the wind.  

“I just want to thank everyone, bring people out and sail,” Murphy said. “I love people, and I love bringing attention on the boat.”

The type of schooner design dates back to William Atkin in 1927. This more modern version of those vessels started being built in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until 18 years later that the Ginny Marie actually launched. Other than a more modern countertop, the boat builders wanted much of it to be without current technologies and amenities. 

Other than that, a number of interesting pieces dot the ship’s design. Behind the boat’s wheel stands a binnacle, a “museum piece,” Murphy said. The cleats, or the anvil-shaped devices to which the ropes are tied, are shaped like alligators, dragons are carved into the end of the flagstaff and the vessel even includes an old, verdigris-covered belaying pin from the Shanty, an Atkin-designed vessel. 

“It took them 18 years to do this, and you end up with a very unique boat,” the Ginny Marie captain said. 

The two-masted schooner is allowed six passengers and a crew, which currently includes Murphy and a fellow seaman who’s training aboard. The dimensions include the 39-feet on deck, plus an 8-foot bowspirit. It weighs 16 tons with an 11.5-foot beam, a 6-foot draft and a 34-foot waterline. 

Chris Ryon, Port Jeff village historian and member of the Tall Ship Committee, said they will continue to bring more ships into the harbor. Last year brought in multiple crafts, including the historical 120-foot Amistad and much smaller Lady Maryland. 

“I’m so happy to have a schooner here,” Ryon said. “Port Jefferson deserves a schooner.”

The Ginny Marie is moored at the dock next to Harborfront Park for people to see and potentially speak to its captain. The boat is expecting to host small charters at $55 a head, six people at a time for two hours, three times a day. 

What’s the best thing about sailing?

“The best part about sailing is you get off the dock, you hoist those sails and you’re gone,” Murphy said. 

This past weekend, Port Jeff residents got a glimpse of a historical schooner in the harbor. Photo by David Luces

With her twin, slanted masts, the 120-foot schooner Amistad, a replica of a famed 19th century ship, rose from Port Jefferson Harbor like a ghost of history the weekend of July 19.

It’s a ghost that has haunted Port Jeff in the past, as local historians and sailing enthusiasts try to bring a tall ship into harbor.

“This harbor was filled with schooners back in the 1800s. We would love to bring those masts back [to Port Jefferson],” said Chris Ryon, Port Jefferson village historian. “We found out they [Amistad] were in Greenport and they were like ‘Can we stop by?’ and we said sure.”

Ryon and other schooner enthusiasts have been trying to bring a tall ship back to Port Jeff Harbor for quite some time. Together they set up the Port Jeff Tall Ship Committee, a subset of the Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy as well as creating the Port Jeff Maritime Facebook page in an effort to advertise for interested tall ships.

The Amistad at the village dock July 19. Photo by David Luces

One of those interested tall ships was the Amistad, which briefly made an appearance this past weekend at the village dock. The ship is a re-creation of the famed African slave ship where Mende captives from Sierra Leone rebelled against their captors and took control of the ship in 1839. Unable to navigate back to Africa, the ship was towed into port in New London Harbor, Connecticut. The captives were faced with execution or slavery, but their case for freedom was supported by many throughout the state. The U.S. Circuit and District courts ruled in the Mende’s favor, and the Mende would eventually gain their freedom with a final decision by the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the lower court’s decision in 1841. Georgette Grier-Key, Long Island history initiative director at Nassau Community College, had the chance to tour the Amistad, where she also showed the ship’s crew historical memorabilia from that time. She said tall ships are something the greater Port Jeff community could really benefit from.

“It would be great to have that history there, they [schooners] are so beautiful to see in the harbor,” she said. “The Amistad has a great legacy and it is critically important to tell the story. I really hope they can get a ship there.”

The crew of the Amistad was impressed with what Port Jeff had to offer.

“This is a beautiful waterfront. There’s no question in my mind that you guys need an attraction vessel. This town needs it,” said Chris Stirling, captain of the Amistad.

During the summer, the Amistad goes from port to port providing dockside programs where they show patrons the ship and tell them the history behind the vessel. In the evening, the New Haven-based ship does a sunset sail where they take people out on the water to watch the sunset.

Ryon said they’re continuing the quest to get tall ships in the harbor and the Amistad could potentially be one of those ships.

“The owner is up in Connecticut — we have been talking. She seems very interested,” the village historian said.

Stirling said when traditional boats come into port it is an attraction.

“Everybody gets jazzed; they love it,” he said.

The captain of the Amistad said he thinks a boat like theirs can come to Port Jeff and do stuff periodically but mentioned the need for the village to have a flagship vessel.

This past weekend, Port Jeff residents got a glimpse of a historical schooner in the harbor. Photo by David Luces

Back in March, the village had announced negotiations with the Halie & Matthew, a 118-foot-long schooner originally set to dock in Port Jefferson Harbor. But village officials said negotiations fell through when the schooner company, Maine Windjammers Inc., wanted to work the vessel partly as a restaurant, operating outside the normal hours of the pier.

“When the Halie and Matthew deal fell through, we said ‘Let’s not sit here with an egg on our face and let’s try to get someone in here,’” Ryon said.

Ryon said they have been reaching out to the schooner community for a while now and have made it known they are interested in getting a ship in the harbor and are offering a free dock.

“We’re working on it; there are no promises on anything,” he said. “It’s fine on our side. It’s a big boat, that’s the issue — it’s really up to them.”

The village historian mentioned that ideally a ship around 70 feet would be a good size for the dock. Ryon said it may be a little tight for the Amistad to maneuver as it is a 120-foot ship and the water is a little shallower.

There are plans to use committee member Jason Rose’s own still-to-be-reconstructed schooner, Elizabeth, as a placeholder at
the dock.

Rose said he hopes to be able to take the Elizabeth out in the water in the next couple of weeks.

“It would be great to have another schooner join the Elizabeth here,” he said.

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The Schooner Elizabeth will be used as a placeholder at the village dock. Photo from Jason Rose

Port Jefferson residents continue to look toward the harbor expecting to see masts of a tall ship high above the surrounding buildings, but they may have to wait for a while longer.

The Amistad will make a brief appearance in Port Jefferson Harbor July 18. Photo by Chris Ryon

Back in March, the village had announced negotiations with The Halie & Matthew, a 118-foot-long schooner originally set to dock in Port Jefferson Harbor. It was the result of months of work by the Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy and local maritime enthusiasts, but village officials said negotiations fell through when the schooner company, Maine Windjammers Inc., wanted to work the vessel partly as a restaurant, operating outside the normal hours of the pier.

“We’re like, nope, absolutely not,” said Mayor Margot Garant at a July 15 village meeting. ”The pier closes at dusk … The tone and tenor of that agreement changed so drastically that it just fell apart.”

Village Attorney Brian Egan confirmed the scope of the operation the schooner company desired was inconsistent with what the village originally intended, that the ship would be used for tours and as a promotional platform for the village. Port Jefferson would have given the boat exclusive access to one side of the pier near Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park for four years.

However, the search for tall ships in the harbor is far from over, at least according to Port Jefferson village historian Chris Ryon. 

Ryon and other enthusiasts had set up the Port Jefferson Tall Ship Committee, a subset of the conservancy, to bring a tall ship to the harbor. Ryon said he was unfazed by the setback, saying they already have other plans in the works. The village historian and other committee members set up the Port Jeff Maritime Facebook page to advertise for additional tall ships, from which he said they have received several offers.

“We’re opening up the dock for free to schooners and are saying ‘come on down,”
he said.

These plans include using fellow committee member Jason Rose’s own still-to-be-reconstructed schooner, Elizabeth, as a placeholder at the dock site.

“[Rose] is a very altruistic person,” Ryon said. “He really wants that schooner to be a part of Port Jeff.”

The Amistad will make a brief appearance in Port Jefferson Harbor July 18. Photo by Chris Ryon

Ryon, who attended the July 15 meeting, said there were two ships they were looking at, one being the Amistad, a re-creation of the famed African slave ship where slaves rebelled against their captors in 1839. Famously, the slaves would eventually gain their freedom in court after being brought into New London Harbor in Connecticut. The ship will dock for a brief time Thursday, July 18, while the ship’s crew takes measurements of the dock.

Another ship, the schooner SoundWaters, has also been in talks with Ryon, Rose and the tall ship committee about docking in the harbor for a yet undetermined space of time.

In anticipation of the Hallie & Matthew, the village hooked up the dock to be used by the schooner with electricity, but whichever ship next moors there would be able to use it.

The dock in question currently only contains the Stony Brook University-owned Seawolf, which resides on the dock’s west edge. There is currently no other boat residing on the east edge.

Ryon added the Port Jefferson Yacht Club has made its own dock available should the village wish to house two tall ships at the same time. The club’s dock is actually deeper than the village-owned dock, the village historian said. The yacht club’s dock is 11 feet deep at dead low waters, while the village-owned dock is 5½ feet deep at dead low closest to the shore.

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A photo of the Schooner Halie & Matthew on the ocean. Photo from Schooner Halie Matthew Facebook

Once upon a time, throughout the 19th century, if one looked down into Port Jefferson Harbor, one could see the tall masts of sailing ships rising high above the surrounding buildings, in a place once called Drowned Meadow. 

Nowadays, the harbor is home to many small vessels, but a new, 118-foot schooner could soon dwarf them if plans to bring in a handcrafted ship built in Maine come to fruition.

Captain George “Butch” Harris, the owner of the Halie & Matthew, a 118-foot-long, gaff-rigged, fiberglass ship, is currently in talks with the Village of Port Jefferson over establishing the harbor as its residence. The village board voted to allow Mayor Margot Garant to try and set up an agreement with the ship’s owner.

If an agreement is reached, the schooner would be moored along the dock in front of Harborfront Park, on the other side of Stony Brook University’s Seawolf research vessel.

“We’ve been looking for a long time to have a schooner call us home,” Garant said during a March 18 board meeting.

According to a draft proposal given to Port Jefferson by Maine Windjammers Inc., the ship would be used free for the village and Port Jefferson Harbor Education and Arts Conservancy as a promotional platform. The village would agree to promote the Halie & Matthew as the village’s “home schooner,” to pay for electric, water and dock maintenance and guarantee exclusive space at the dock for four years.

The conservancy set up a Tall Ship Committee more than a year ago in an effort to get a sizable ship into Port Jefferson Harbor. Harris said he comes from a family of shipbuilders, his father owning a boat shop that he worked in as a kid. He started work on the Halie & Matthew in 2001 and finished in 2006. Since then the ship has sailed as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada. 

Jason Rose, a member of the committee, is breathless with excitement over the prospect of a tall ship sitting in the harbor. Himself an avid sailor, he is currently working with The Boat Place in Port Jeff to revitalize his own 42-foot schooner, the Elizabeth. 

He is also an adjunct professor of political science at Stony Brook University and faculty adviser of the school’s sailing team and he already has students promising to help man the ship if needed.

Port Jefferson village historian Chris Ryon said the masts of the Halie & Matthew could likely be seen from all across the village’s downtown and, along with pennants hanging from the ship’s stays, would attract visitors down toward the park. 

“The harbor used to be filled with tall ships and masts,” Ryon said. “We’ll be able to see them from all over the village. We’re hoping to draw people into the harbor area.” 

Ryon said the committee had been in contact with Harris a year ago about bringing the schooner to Port Jeff, but contact fell through. It was at the start of the year that Harris reached back out to the committee about making Port Jeff a home for the schooner. The ship has a 24-foot beam and a 90-foot main mast. Its max capacity is at 100 people aboard.

The Port Jefferson Tall Ship Committee, a subset of the conservancy, of which Ryon is a member, has been working for years to bring a tall ship into the harbor. The contract would be for four years. Under the initial proposal, after the first year, the village would receive a 20 percent share in net profits of the vessel, which gets revenue through its charter operations and dining and bar services. There is an option to renew after that initial time, under the condition the village would negotiate a profit-sharing agreement.

The ship would have to get access to the village’s water and electricity, but Ryon said he did not believe the ship would use so much resources because, other than for appliances and lights, the ship is sail powered. The Seawolf is already hooked up to the village’s electricity, but water lines may need to be extended to the new schooner. Garant said the conservancy has agreed to pay half of the costs of extending those lines to the new vessel if needed. 

While the village still needs to work out security specifics with Harris, Rose said the ship will have two people living on the ship full time in order to make sure there isn’t any vandalism of the Halie & Matthew.

Garant said the first year would be a pilot, and they wanted to have dates in years 1 through 4 where the owners would commit to giving the village access to the vessel at minimum three times a year for fundraising initiatives. 

Ryon said over 500 large ships were built in the harbor during the area’s shipbuilding heyday. The largest wooden sailing ship built in the harbor was the Martha E. Wallace, built in 1902 and topped at more than 200 feet long. Ryon said the last time the harbor played host to a schooner of notable size was in the 1970s, a ship called the Enchantress.

With a new ship coming in, Rose can’t wait to see Port Jeff’s shipbuilding history come alive again.

“It’s going to be great to see the area’s maritime history start to be honored,” he said. 

The SoundWaters schooner will arrive in Port Jefferson next weekend. Photo by Mike Bagley

The 80-foot schooner, SoundWaters, is offering the public a chance to experience Long Island Sound in a very special way this August. This beautiful and historic three-masted ship will be sailing from Port Jefferson Harbor from Aug. 11 to 14. The public is invited to sail on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 to 14 at 3 or 6 p.m. Adult tickets are $35 and children (5 to 12 years) are $25 for afternoon sails and $35 for sunset sails.


Guests are invited to bring their favorite food and beverages and relax for a breezy afternoon sail — ideal for families — or a beautiful and romantic sunset sail. All sails last two hours and depart from the Port Jefferson Village Center Dock (just east of Danfords and the Ferry Dock).

SoundWaters, a replica of a historic sharpie schooner, has been sailing Long Island Sound since 1989 as the flagship of Stamford CT-based environmental education nonprofit, SoundWaters. During the week, SoundWaters is a floating classroom, carrying over 5,000 students every year from 64 different towns in the Long Island Sound region. While on board, SoundWaters educators teach the students about the ecology of Long Island Sound.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.soundwaters.org.

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The deck of the Martha E. Wallace, taken by John M. Brown. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
Spectators fill the dock to watch the Martha E. Wallace launch, taken by John M. Brown. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
Spectators fill the dock to watch the Martha E. Wallace launch, taken by John M. Brown. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive

It was the largest wooden sailing vessel ever built in Port Jefferson, during the village’s shipyard heyday.

The Martha E. Wallace was built at the Mather & Wood Shipyard in 1902 and topped off at more than 200 feet long and 1,108 tons, according to a history of prominent residents interred at Port Jefferson’s Cedar Hill Cemetery written by cemetery historian George Moraitis.

John Titus Mather — the very same whose name is memorialized on a Port Jefferson hospital, and one in a long line of shipbuilders — and Owen E. Wood had started the shipyard around 1879. Located on the harbor, near the current ferry terminal site, they quickly got to work building the first ship for the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, Nonowantuc, a wooden-hulled steam ferry, and later the original Park City ferry before designing the Martha E. Wallace.

The Martha E. Wallace is docked at Steamboat Landing. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
The Martha E. Wallace is docked at Steamboat Landing. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive

The schooner Martha E. Wallace launched on Aug. 2, 1902. According to “Images of America: Port Jefferson,” written by local library staffers Robert Maggio and Earlene O’Hare, it was “the last of the great schooners built in Port Jefferson,” with four masts and 16 sails. Those sails were made at the Wilson Sail Loft, another village business situated at the harbor.

About 2,000 people witnessed the ship’s launch, Maggio and O’Hare wrote, but the majesty was short-lived — the vessel was destroyed eight years later when she ran aground off the coast of North Carolina.

The Martha E. Wallace, under construction, sits at the Mather and Wood Shipyard with the Ida C. Southard, which is getting repairs. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
The Martha E. Wallace, under construction, sits at the Mather and Wood Shipyard with the Ida C. Southard, which is getting repairs. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive

That incident was early one morning in late December 1910, and records show the Martha E. Wallace got stranded near Cape Lookout in the Southern Outer Banks, while carrying cargo on a trip between Georgia and New York. The small crew was rescued as the schooner was rapidly taking on water.

The Martha E. Wallace was one of several dozens of vessels the Mather family had a hand in building. A half-hull model of the ship is on display — along with other ship models and shipbuilding tools — at the historical society’s Mather Museum on Prospect Street in downtown Port Jefferson, based at a former Mather family home.