Category Archive '“Tropic of Night”'

09 Sep 2012

Pinky Schooner

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I recently read (on Steve Bodio’s recommendation) Michael Gruber’s Tropic of Night, a supernatural thriller revolving around African Voodoo, with a rich, blond, and beautiful anthropologist heroine named Jane Doe.

Among Jane’s possessions, the reader encounters a Red Nine, a 9mm Parabellum version of the Model 1896 “Broomhandle” Mauser pistol, commissioned by the Imperial German Army in 1916 to supplement its insufficient supply of Model 1908 Luger pistols.

Jane also sails a Pinky Schooner, which I felt obliged to look up.

Boatbuilding with Burnham explains:

Pinky schooners were a common type of New England fishing vessel that sailed out of local Cape Ann harbors from the early eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. In 1839, there were 64 registered pinky schooners out of the Cape Ann and its district. Pinkies were generally smaller vessels from which men fished over the side but they were also known for their seaworthiness. These vessels were so distinctive in their look and common that a careful study of many marine paintings from the era will have a pinky or two in the background. Many of the paintings of the internationally renowned artist Fitz Henry Lane, including those in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. usually have pinkies in the background of the painting. “Pinky” means that the stern is “pinked” or pinched together which indicates a pointed stern and may originally be a Dutch word.

It is believed that the pinkies developed from Chebacco boats. A good many of them were built at Essex. These vessels were built to a very high standard and some lasted a very long time. The original MAINE was built in 1845 and sailed until 1926.

Here is Tiger, a 57′ Pinky Schooner, built in 1993 in Port Townsend, Washington, sailing out to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. That certainly looks like fun. Looking around the web, I find you can buy one of these for as little as $100,000-150,000.


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