, Gloucester, MA

March 14, 2013

Dog's story to bring dory fishing alive

By Gail McCarthy
Times Staff

---- — A free children’s program will take children back in time to the final days of schooner fishing during a Saturday morning event at the Sawyer Free Library.

Schooner Adventure will present its “Skippy’s Adventure” program in the Friend Room at the Gloucester library on Saturday, March 16, at 10 a.m. This program is open to all ages, and includes a reading of the new book “Skippy Finds Adventure,” a true story about a dog, along with a program that demonstrates dory fishing.

“Schooner Adventure was the last dory fishing schooner on the Atlantic coast in America,” said Beth Welin. The Canadians still dory fished for a while after the Adventure retired when boats had switched over to net fishing and modern equipment.

“This program describes what it was like to be a dory man on the schooner Adventure,” said Welin, the education coordinator for Schooner Adventure. The Schooner Adventure staff commissioned this children’s book, which is based on a real-life dog named Skippy, who lived aboard the fishing vessel for 15 years.

“Through her eyes, the children get an idea what life was like on Gloucester’s last dory fishing schooner, and they will meet members of the crew and see what their daily work was like,” said Welin.

The book will be read to the children while the images are projected onto a screen during the reading. The interactive program includes a presentation of dory fishing artifacts and clothing, and the children will see actual photographs of Skippy and the fishing crew.

“We will explain how the equipment was used,” she added. “The program helps bring to life the story of Gloucester’s fishermen.”

In this book, the children learn about the wharf dog, who followed Adventure’s engineer aboard in 1936 and stayed for the rest of her life. The schooner Adventure retired from fishing in 1953. Adventure spent the next 30 years taking passengers on windjamming trips out of Maine. In 1988, Capt. Jim Sharp donated the vessel to Gloucester, thus bringing her back to her original home port.

“Skippy Finds Adventure” was created under the direction of Welin, and was funded by the Dusky Foundation. The creative team includes artist Rusty Kinnunen and writer Peter Cherry, both Gloucester residents, as well as editor Ann Droppers, a North Shore resident. The book’s illustrator and writer will be at the event to sign books for those interested.

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Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or

If you go Who and what: Schooner Adventure presents "Skippy's Adventure." When: Saturday, March 16, at 10 a.m. Where: Friend Room at Sawyer Free Library How much: Free to all ages.