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June 19, 2013

Schooner challenge benefits ship stablization

Schooner challenge benefits ship stabilization

Evelina M. Goulart is in rough shape, held together with chains, straps and a patchwork of wood and metal beams in an Essex shipyard while six of her remaining relatives — many of which are in better condition — remain scattered across New England.

But, considering the 90-ton, 83-foot schooner is just about 86 years old and last hit the water in the mid 1980s, it is still holding together.

The vessel, first launched on June 29, 1927, is just one of seven remaining historic schooners built in Essex; the others are largely repaired with newer parts, equipment and wood.

The Evelina M. Goulart is a transitional vessel in more ways than one: it served as a dragger and a swordfishing vessel; it could harness the power of wind through its sails or speed through the sea using an onboard engine.

It fished out of New Bedford and Gloucester, and has survived two hurricanes, but ultimately sank in Fairhaven Harbor.

In 1990, the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum accepted the vessel as a gift from Capt. Bob Douglas; it now sits at the museum, just a few feet away from where it was constructed.

Ever since, the museum has been working to stabilize and preserve the vessel while keeping it in its original form.

The vessel had survived two previous hurricanes, and made it back to Fairhaven Harbor, where she eventually sank at her dock.

A few years later, the Essex Shipbuilding Museum accepted the vessel as a gift from Capt. Bob Douglas in 1990. Douglas oversaw the raising of the vessel and its return to Essex.

“Ships are not made to be out of the water,” said Lee Spence, president of the museum’s board of directors.

The schooner has had to bear the brunt of the elements — and insects — on land.

“It’s in an arrested state of decay,” Spence said.

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