The original Schooner Mary J. Ward was designed by Dennison J. Lawlor and built in 1887 in Essex, Massachusetts on the east coast of USA. Back then Dennison J. Lawlor was an accomplished designer / builder with a reputation of building fast and seaworthy boats. Mary J. Ward was commissioned as a coastal fishing schooner, thus much smaller than the big schooners of that time that would sail out on fishing trips to the banks for weeks on end.

EMMA is a replica of Mary J. Ward with some modifications such as slightly higher topsides, since nobody will have to haul any catch on board on a daily basis. The added room below is much appreciated. She has a 100hp diesel engine in the area behind the main mast where in the original boat had the hold for carrying ice and fish. Her main cabin is larger than the original’s.

Interesting enough schooner rigs were popular in the US, much more so than in the “old world” where cutter rigs were often preferred. Back then there were no engines to pull in and out of harbors, so  fishermen had to be good sailors too.

The modest size of the boat – 12.7 m on deck and 4 m wide – and the divided sail area mean that she can be sailed with short handed crew. It was never the intention to create a replica 100% true to the original. Her outfit is a healthy mix of new and old that does not betray her traditional pedigree.

The lines reveal a long history of searching for the best compromise between sailing and load carrying capabilities. In fact, the spindle shaped lines below the water line are known to oppose the least amount of resistance through the water. Her gentle runs aft and full stern will let her fly in following seas, whereas her fine entry and lateral resistance forward coupled with her powerful mid-section will give her sufficient bite and sail carrying capability when going to windward.

Certainly, with an overall weight of clearly over 20 tons – 8 tons of which is internal ballast – she is not going to beat any sailing records. But her lines and her weight hold the promise of a reasonably fast and comfortable ride and her moderate draft of 1.8 m will let her get into many secluded bays that are off limits to other boats.