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Bath in Sagadahoc County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Launch day!

 
 
Launch day! Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., September 19, 2011
1. Launch day! Marker
Inscription.  
Launching featured tradtion, ritual, spectators, and celebration. But it also brought technical challenge and danger to workers and vessel alike.

In preparation, a launching crew built a pair of sliding (or launching) ways beneath the schooner. These were topped with a cradle, which was "wedged up" to take the vessle's weight as the blocks beneath were removed. Greasing the ways allowed vessel in its cradle to slide into the Kennebec River, always at high tide.

All could be ruined if the vessel fell off her cradle, or stuck, or overshot her launch and crashed into the opposite shore.

But when all went well, the sponsor christened the new vessel with sparkling wine or flowers. A celebration followed. Whether aboard the newly floating vessel or ashore, guests often discovered that the traditional launch-day punch had a kick, even though Maine was a "dry" state.

[Captions:]
A poster advertising the launch of Wyoming pictures the Fuller Palmer, launched in 1908. Wyoming's launch was delayed a day by an intense December gale.

A crowd gathered for the
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launch of the 5-masted schooner Grace Martin for Percy & Small's own fleet, July 14, 1904.

 
Erected by Maine Maritime Museum.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is July 14, 1913.
 
Location. 43° 53.712′ N, 69° 48.935′ W. Marker is in Bath, Maine, in Sagadahoc County. Marker is on the grounds of the Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bath ME 04530, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of the North Ways (1901) (a few steps from this marker); Wyoming Sculpture (within shouting distance of this marker); Deckhouse from steamer Winapie ca.1909 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fitting-Out Pier (1906) (within shouting distance of this marker); Kennebec River (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the South Ways (ca. 1867) (within shouting distance of this marker); Shipyard Owner's Home (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Wyoming Sculpture (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bath.
 
More about this marker. The Maine Maritime Museum
Launch day! Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., September 19, 2011
2. Launch day! Marker
is on the grounds of the former Percy & Small Shipyard, which was the last remaining intact wooden sailing vessel shipyard in the United States.
 
Also see . . .
1. Maine Maritime Museum. (Submitted on January 30, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Glamorous Six Masters. (Submitted on January 30, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Percy & Small Shipyard List. (Submitted on January 30, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Advertisement on Launch day! Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Percy & Small, 1909
3. Advertisement on Launch day! Marker
Maine Maritime Museum Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr.
4. Maine Maritime Museum Sign
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2024. It was originally submitted on January 30, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 563 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 30, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on January 27, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Jul. 13, 2024