schooner ,tall ship

 List of schooners and other sailing ships

 List of schooners and other Sailing ships
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Schooner Alexandria

Sparred Length 125 ft.

Beam 22 ft.

Draft 9 Ft 2 In

Rig height 85 ft.

ALEXANDRIA was the former "Yngve", built at Bjorkenas, Denmark in 1929 as a cargo-carrying auxiliary three-masted schooner. Around 1937 she was rerigged as a ketch "galease." In 1939 was sold and given the name Lindö (LINDO) In early 1976 she was rebuilt and rerigged as a three-masted topsail schooner. She took part in Operation Sail that July, and a similar event at Boston in 1980. In 1984 was aquired by the Alexandria Seaport Foundation a non profit corporation in Va.

In early 1996 a survey reported that the "Ship is severely hogged at bow (foot of stem has dropped 18 1/4 inches below line of keel), possibly indicating heavy grounding or other trauma. Ship needs to be rebuilt with keel replacement, straightening of hog, frame and plank replacement, repair of other components. Piecemeal replacement of planks without frame and other repairs not adequate for safe sailing. Maybe could be operated 'within one mile of shore.' Not recommended. "To repair ship to condition for unlimited service would require drydocking for approximately one year, a full time work crew of 25 experienced hands, an excess of best available materials on hand, and carefull scheduling to assure all needed skills available at the appropriate time. Approximately one million dollars and one year..."


==== In the fall of 1996 was sold to Yale Iverson a laywer from Iowa.the new owner ignored warnings not to take her out in streneuous conditions, the foundation that sold her to him had in fact not taken it out of the Potomac River since April.....a quote from the owner is in the article, it was taken during a phone interview just after the report of the sinking....he states that he ignored the warnings of the foundation beacuse he felt that the foundations leaders were "white-pants, yacht-club guys who drink cocktails...but never take the boat out." At around 6:30am, 12/9/96, the three-masted topsail schooner Alexandria (ex Lindo) sank off Cape Hatteras NC. She was taking on water when her pumps failed. By the time they were restarted it was too late. Conditions were: Force 10 winds and 12 foot seas All hands were rescued, 5 right away, 2 6.5 hours later.

Email 2/23/97 Schoonerman-- First, let me congratulate you on a very fine web site. It is very informative to both the novice and seasoned sailors.

On another note I would like to come to Yale Iverson's 'defense'.Upon surrendering our vessel (the Alexandria) to the mighty waters of the Atlantic Ocean, there has been much negative feed back about some of the captain's decisions. I would like to say this much-- if it had not been for some careless work done on the boat by some electricians we would have never had that fatal mechanical failure. Not only did Yale and myself find a wire nut but also many pieces of wiring, wiring harnesses, tape and wire coatings. Even with our best planning and constant navtek readings, that surprise weather did not help one bit; basically Triton wanted that ship and wanted it badly. Although I was one of the members who was rescued some 7 hours later, I  hold  no ill will towards Captain Iverson. I think he is a passionate man who is living a life only some of us could only dream of. I think this is where alot of the bad comments are stemming from, not to mention jealousy from the Seaport  Foundation. I am not sure why I wrote this to you, or if you even have an opinion about this event. But I felt your web site would be a great medium to voice MY opinion. I am grateful for the successful rescue of all my ship mates (especially Harold Phinney, my watch companion and fellow sea swimmer). And I even more indebted to our efficient and dedicated U.S. Coast Guard, all  American sailors should be thankful to all these men and women. In closing I would like to thenk you for taking the time out of you  busy schedule to read this. If you would like to talk more feel free to e-mail me.I would be more than happy to hear from you. And Good Sailing to you and yours. Please preach the word of "eperbs" I think Harold and myself had had them we would have been found much quicker. Thank you and good day. Keith Boyer <> Alexandria Crew Member In memory of David And John God Bless those loyal dogs.

To SchoonerMan, for posting. Response to Keith Boyer's letter regarding Yale Iverson and the loss of the Schooner Alexandria

. As a crewmember and watch leader aboard the Schooner Alexandria, I sailed the ship for four years. Those voyages included the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race of 1992, in which the ship scrubbed a shoal and was taking on 100 gallons of water per minute. We successfully put the water off and brought the ship in. Despite repeated hard body blows, she only lost some caulk in her stern and was back in the water the next day

. Other voyages included many passages of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic coast, Florida Keys, and a crossing of the Gulf of Mexico, during which we scratched an old jetty and were taking on 50 gallons of water per minute. Once again we successfully put the water off and brought the ship in.After piloting 60 miles up the swollen 1993 Mississippi River, the ship was torn from her barge mooring by the wake of a passing tug. Again levelheaded crew procedure saved the ship from the fierce current. When the ship attempted to return across the Gulf, rough weather set in and Captain Pete Hall possessed the humility and common sense to turn back to safe harbor.  

      I served as watch leader aboard the ship's last two Seaport Foundation voyages , which occurred shortly before she was purchased by Yale Iverson. She was delicate, but not unseaworthy. She sailed true to her helm and never listed. The pumps worked properly and consistently at all times, including the four days I lived aboard the ship alone at the Davis Boatworks seawall. The Alexandria was a very tough survivalist of a ship and put up with much pounding, endured different volunteer crews by the week, yet she always brought us in, thanks to her strong hull and seaworthy design, but also thanks to circumspect, wise captains and proper crew training and procedures.

Neither of my captains ever cast off without a qualified, preferably licensed first mate, and at least one engineer, preferably two. There were assigned watch leaders, each responsible for one half of the deckhands, for training, posting, safety, and smooth running of the ship. The only time I ever sailed the ship with fewer than 10 people was one short run from Solomons Island to Baltimore on a flat glass sea. We had six people, including a licensed captain, licensed first mate, two experienced watch leaders, and two deckhands, one of whom was Harold Phinney, who survived the ship's final voyage. Even on a flat glass sea, six was barely enough. The Alexandria was a 125-foot three-masted schooner with four headsails. She required at least 12, at best 14 people for ocean passage. Any crew is immediately divided in half, so half can be sleeping. That leaves 6 to 7 people to operate the ship. One must be the command officer. A second must be the watch leader. A third must be the engineer. That leaves three deckhands to stand bow watch, helm watch, and fire/engine/bilge watch. Any additional crew assist in sail handling and rotate on the deck watches. The off-watch crew sleeps and is available for emergencies. In my opinion, no less than 12 people are an absolute requirement for safe round-the-clock sailing in average ocean-passage conditions, and at least half those people (captain, mate, two watch leaders and two engineers) should have notable experience with tall ship sailing.

Keith's letter suggests that Yale Iverson was not at fault in the sinking of the ship, but instead implicates the Alexandria Seaport Foundation for poor electrical work, presumably allowing the pumps to malfunction. That may be the case--I am not an electrician. I am also not inclined to defend the ASF's judgment and handling of the schooner's last year and her sale. However, why did Iverson not have the electrical systems checked at Davis Boatworks? All of the ship's needs and weaknesses were made known to Yale Iverson. He was provided with professional surveys of her condition. He was told the ship needed extensive hull work. He was told about her electrical status. He was told by several experienced crewmen and at least one captain (many of whom I spoke to during this period) that he should hire a professional sailing captain with experience piloting such ships for at least six months, until he (Iverson) learned the eccentricities of sailing a classic vessel. For instance, did he know about the limber lines in the bilge and how to use them? I've also heard he grounded the ship four times in the Potomac River's marked channel before ever reaching Chesapeake Bay, weakening the ship further

. Iverson was warned that the ship needed at least six months' work in a qualified boatyard. (We all thought that was his reason for heading down to Davis Boatworks.) He dismissed those warnings. Iverson's comment that the Seaport Foundation's crewmen were "white-pants yacht-club guys who drink cocktails but never take the boat out" proved that he did not take seriously the professional surveys, and he certainly did not listen to the captain and crew of the Alexandria. Anyone hearing descriptions of our voyages over the ship's last four years would never come to so fanciful and inaccurate a conclusion.

SchoonerMan's site mentions an article in which Yale Iverson says he didn't listen because the Foundation "had not taken the ship out since April." Evidently he did not even read the ship's log, some of which I have in my possession (photocopies). The ship's last voyage beyond the bridge was 9-11 June 1996, from Norfolk to Alexandria. Chip Reynolds was captain, Sue Pawlukiewicz and Ned Chalker were mates, Howell Crim and Reed Moshier were engineers, and I was one of the watch leaders. What kind of person buys a ship and does not review the log? The Alexandria, in fact, under Captain Pete Hall and then-First Mate Chip Reynolds, was the most-traveled tall ship of 1993 on the American Sail Training Association roster with the exception of only two vessels--Pride of Baltimore and Tole Mour. The schooner sailed over 3500 nautical miles that year, a monumental achievement for a volunteer-run vessel.

Iverson chose to ignore experienced sailors who traveled those miles. Several of my crewmates, some whom I trained, phoned me during the period when Iverson was trying to get crewmen to sail with him. The sentiment was consistent--one crewmate said, "I wouldn't go across a pond with that guy." This was greatly revealing to me. We the crew loved the Alexandria and were all hoping to continue serving aboard her even under the new owner. I had many such hopeful conversations with shipmates. Only after crewmembers met Yale Iverson did enthusiasm drop off. Finally, only one person who had sailed the schooner before agreed to go with him, despite the loyalty we all had to that strong-hearted and endlessly forgiving ship. There is even more telling evidence that Yale Iverson set sail on the Alexandria without proper experience, wisdom, humility, or basic good judgment. The foremost of those are: According to the Des Moines Register, Iverson also sank two other vessels, including a 65-foot vessel and a World War II minesweeper. A huge piece of evidence: no sensible captain would set sail on a 125 foot ship, for passage of the Atlantic Ocean, in December, with only 7 people aboard. And certainly not with those crewmen possessing extremely little tall ship experience. Seven experienced people are not enough. On 24-hour schedule, when were they planning to sleep? Iverson set sail without a licensed first mate, and without an engineer familiar with the schooner's mechanics. Iverson was warned by Captain Lane Briggs of the Norfolk Rebel and also by the returning 158-foot schooner Clipper City that there was weather coming in and he should not set sail out of Norfolk. At 0600 on December 6th, as Iverson was pulling the ship out of Hampton Roads, there was already a 30-knot northeast wind. The weather was no surprise. Later, the Tug Warner put engineers on board who got the main engine running after many hours not running, then warned heavy weather was blowing in, and offered a tow back to Norfolk. Despite high winds, rising seas, filling bilges, pump trouble, main engine trouble, and inadequate crew complement, Yale Iverson turned down the tow to safety. In other words, he turned down a chance to get out of a voyage on which he should never have embarked. Only the strength and upright seaworthiness of the schooner, even in her weakened condition, allowed the crew to stay on board through the night, despite taking on water, until the daylight hours in which they could most likely be rescued. Had the schooner been the failing element, there would have been crew deaths. I quote Chip Reynolds, captain of the Alexandria and the Half Moon, as published in the ASTA newsletter Running Free, Winter 1997: "The principal contributing factor to the sinking of the Alexandria was poor management and planning. While the vessel did need structural repairs, there is no evidence of structural failure based on interviews with crew members. The rise in bilge water was not initially in excess of previous experience with the ship. But with shorthanded crew, particularly crew with little experience, pump failures could not be resolved." In my opinion as a crewman with four years' duty on board the Alexandria, Yale Iverson's actions amount to neglectful arrogance, shameful waste of a grand historic trust, and reckless endangerment of inexperienced crewmen. Iverson might have owned the ship, but he was no captain.

Diane Carey Schooner Alexandria

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