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Sailboat Weathervane – Wendameen Schooner

Sailboat Weather Vane Wendameen Schooner


Our original customers for this weathervane were a lovely couple building a new home in New York. They had been married in Maine on the decks of the historic 1912 ‘Wendameen’ Schooner with the ship’s captain performing the ceremony. They liked the inclusiveness of their personal connection to this vessel and also reflecting back to the history of shipping trade in the area. Weathervanes have from their beginnings reflected something personal about the people who mount them. Originally it was coats of arms, then types of business, and now they often reflect a personal interest or history and are very satisfying for all. This schooner is constructed in 3D style, with brass sails and a copper hull, masts and riggings .

The weathervane was going to be mounted in a prominent location and because of the expanse of sail, it was decided a security device would be a smart feature to include. You can see the ‘ears’ of the device below the globe on the main rod of the vane.

The Schooner Wendameen has historic designation, and here the name is inscribed in the hull. The waterline is demarcated with optional gold leaf, which will remain a bright distinction for many decades as the copper and brass weather to similar hues with slight variations. Our customers also chose ‘lucky pennies‘, from years of significance in their lives, to be sealed in the hull along with the traditional penny from the year the weather vane was created.

The Wendameen is the first schooner designed by John Gale Alden (1884–1962), an American naval architect and the founder of Alden Designs. Alden was born in Troy in 1884. He grew up in Rhode Island and first learned about boats when sailing a flat-bottomed rowing boat of his sister’s using an umbrella as a sail. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the winter of 1907, at twenty three years old, he undertook a voyage that would define his distinctive design trademark: The schooner Fame, owned by the eastern Fishing company, had to be returned to Boston when her crew of 23 men had gone down with smallpox and there was no one left to sail her. Alden put together a crew of four inexperienced young men and one old salt to undertake the journey. During the weeks that followed, they experienced appalling winter weather – 60 mile an hour winds, turning the salt spray to ice. The boat, and crew survived, but for Alden the lessons learned far outweighed the value of the delivery contract: He realized how to design a boat that would be resilient in heavy seas, and what was important when a vessel was short-handed. His subsequent designs are admired not only for their grace and elegance but for their stability and for the fact that they can, generally, be sailed single-handedly if necessary.