Columbia Schooner Sails Again

By: Meg Rose - Email
By: Meg Rose - Email
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PANAMA CITY-- A shipyard known for building ferries and tug boats embarked on a new adventure, constructing a replica of the famous wooden Gloucester fishing schooner, Columbia.

The schooner Columbia was launched into the gulf Saturday morning at the Eastern Shipbuilding's shipyard.

This was a historic moment for many, crowds cheered on schooner Columbia as it made its final descent out to sea. The 141-foot sail boat was replicated after the famous 1923 Gloucester fishing schooner, known for its speed and seaworthiness.

People who came to watch the launch said the sheer size alone takes their breath away.

"This is probably the most, the most incredible boat I've ever seen, it's just something," said Panama City resident Rick Such.

Project manager Jacob Stephens said all the hard work paid off. "These guys have done a wonderful job here, we get it in the water, we get it to float that's a big hurdle," said Project manager Jacob Stephens.

A hurdle they successfully jumped. The boat went along a track all the way down 15 feet into the water before it was released. Now with it finally floating people can enjoy watching it sail away.

"We are gratified by the number of people that did come and you'll see this vessel sailing on St. Andrews Bay and we'll get you on board then," said Eastern Shipbuilding President Brian D'Isernia.

The schooner will go through several sea trials these next few months before setting sail to Fort Lauderdale where it will be featured in the city's boat show in late October.


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