The story of Bluenose is perhaps the most famous of all our Lunenburg tales. It was all about pride. The fishermen of Lunenburg’s sister port, Gloucester, Massachusetts, had a taste for competition and were racing their fishing schooners out at sea on Sunday’s when fishing was not permitted. The Lunenburgers wanted in. And so it was that The Halifax Herald newspaper agreed to offer a prize for an international race: $4000 – a handsome sum in the day – and a trophy. As well, sponsors offered many gifts, like a pair of rubber boots for every man on the winning team. In October of 1920 the Canadians lost that inaugural International Fishermen’s Cup race. It would never happen again.
Angus Walters, already a top-producing high-liner captain, gathered a group of investors and found a marine architect, William Roue. The promise was to produce a winner; this time. With Angus himself at the wheel, Bluenose was launched on March 26, 1921 and proved herself a capable fishing schooner through the summer fishing season. In the fall of that same year she was first across the line at the second international race. 1921 through 1938 -- Bluenose won every international series she ever entered and earned her place as the undefeated Queen of the North Atlantic, challenged by many an American boat built to dethrone her, but never faltering. In 1937 her image was immortalized on the Canadian 10-cent piece where it remains today. Her story ended in 1946 when, by then a freighter in the West Indies, she sank on a reef off of Haiti.
Roll time forward. There’s long been talk of a new Bluenose but no one ever imagined it could happen. Then Smith and Rhuland Shipyard built the replica of HMS Bounty for the movie Mutiny on the Bounty. Perhaps it could be done? It’s now the early 60s and the Oland Beer Company of Halifax is introducing a new product to their line; Schooner Beer carries the image of the most famous schooner ever: Bluenose. Why not? Why not build her again? And thus it was: on July 24, 1963, Bluenose II slipped gracefully into the waters of Lunenburg Harbour, a princess for this port. A few years later she was gifted to the Province of Nova Scotia and for 47 years served as a sailing ambassador for the province and the country.
Hogging is an affliction that destroys schooners, when their keels eventually twist, rendering them unfixable. By the spring of 2010 no more could be done to refit the old girl and an extensive rebuild was in order. While her entire keel, hull structure, and decking is new, with 25 percent of the original ship going back into the construction through rigging, masts and housings, the Bluenose II lives again. And through the summer of 2012 a precise process will see her return to the sea. Outfitting and rigging will follow and by the summer of 2013, when she’s not visiting other ports, she’ll be back here, moored to her wharf, thrilling people from around the world who travel to see and sail on our beloved Bluenose II.