The Schooner Wyoming was one of the largest wooden sailing vessels ever constructed. Built in Bath, Maine in 1909 as a collier ship, she was designed as a state-of-the-art sail freighter. Using a donkey generator and automated systems and winches for raising and lowering sails, and a telephone system for onboard communication, she was 450 feet long, but crewed by just 14 men.
Like many of the 20th century sail freight vessels, the Wyoming was a support ship for steamboats. Colliers carried coal to coaling stations around the world, allowing steamships to refuel and travel long distances. Because sailing vessels didn't use any of the coal they carried, they were ideal for transporting fuel efficiently around the world. But in order to stay competitive with steam vessels, sailing vessels had to be efficient in crew costs as well, which is why the Wyoming had such a small crew.
Sadly, this enormous sail freighter met with a tragic fate. To learn more about her disappearance in 1924, check out the short documentary film below.
If you'd like to learn more about the Wyoming, visit the Maine Maritime Museum, which includes the site of the Percy & Small Shipyard, and a memorial to the Wyoming.
If you'd like to learn more about sail freight, be sure to visit our upcoming exhibit, "A New Age of Sail: The History and Future of Sail Freight on the Hudson River," opening Sunday, May 29, 2022.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
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