None of my many hundreds of highly knowledgeable and attentive readers seem to have picked up on what I thought was a glaring error of nautical terminology in Sunday's post which included the lyrics to Mr. Kenny Chesney's song "The Life".
Mr. Chesney claims that he met a gentleman called José who had a "12 foot Schooner".
Hmmm. I'm no expert on boats but according to Wikipedia (which is never wrong) a schooner is "a type of sailing vessel characterized by the use of fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts with the forward mast being shorter or the same height as the rear masts."
A 12 foot boat with at least two masts and fore-and-aft sails? Seems unlikely to me.
Was Mr. Chesney just groping for a word that sorta kinda rhymes with "cooler"?
Or do Mexican fisherman really use 12 foot boats with two masts? Or is the word "schooner" used to describe some other kind of boat in Playa del Carmen?
So how small could a schooner be? What is the world's smallest schooner?
According to the The Google (which contains all the knowledge in the universe) this photo on Flickr may be of the world's smallest schooner.
How long is that? 30 foot including the bowsprit? Certainly more than 12 foot. I haven't been able to discover any more information about this boat. Can anyone help? Or does anyone know of an even smaller schooner?
What about this boat?
I stumbled upon this picture on 70.8% yesterday, in a post in which Thomas Armstrong reviews A VOYAGE OF PLEASURE: the Log of Bernard Gilboy’s Transpacific Cruise in the Boat, “Pacific” 1882-1883. Armstrong describes the Pacific as an 18 foot schooner.
Hmmm. At first I was going to argue whether this strange looking craft (with only one mast apparently) was really a schooner, but then I read the text of the post and learned that Gilby was capsized by a wave 90 days out of San Francisco and that in this accident he lost "a mast". He subsequently contrived a jury rig which is shown in the "lead photograph" in the book. So now I'm confused. Is the drawing on the cover of the boat as built, or of the jury rig? Did the boat have one or two masts originally? And if only one, was it really a schooner? I have no compunction about challenging Mr. Chesney's nautical credentials but am very reluctant to second guess Mr. Armstrong on such a subject.
Can someone please help me to find a way out of this fog?