The Launch of the Columbia

 The replica Columbia launched in Florida. 

The replica Columbia launched in Florida. 

A sort of amazing thing happened recently in Florida. A replica of the famous schooner Columbia was christened and launched in Panama City. The original Columbia was built in my hometown of Essex, Ma which was once a great center of shipbuilding, but now is a small town known for antiques and fried clams. 

 The original Columbia post-launch in Essex 1923. 

The original Columbia post-launch in Essex 1923. 

The original Columbia was built in 1923 at Story Shipyard, which, amazingly, is still alive today, the last of the many Essex shipyards. The Columbia went down in 1927 off of Sable Island. All crew were lost. 

The new Columbia is made of steel and has a propeller, both pretty significant improvements, but other than that it’s pretty much the same, apparently, right down the classic black and red paint job of the era. Read more about he launch here.

Interested in seeing how the boats used to come together? Check out this epic little video of the shipbuilders of Essex and also the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. There’s something great about seeing the Columbia remade for the day. Even if the launch wasn't quite as dramatic as it was 91 years ago. 

 The original Columbia launched in Essex, MA. 

The original Columbia launched in Essex, MA.