The Shipwreck |    Dive Site Conditions
Historical Background   |    Salvage (if any)    |    Sources


French Van Gilder

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Vineyard Sound
Lightship

Description: Tern Schooner; Wood; 3 masted
Dimensions:   length - 120.6 ft.    width - 29.6 ft.   depth - 10 ft.
    Tonnage:     gross - 239            other -
 Propulsion:
 Machinery:
       Cargo: Paving stones


The Shipwreck

  Date Sunk: March 29, 1885
         Cause: Stranded
     Location: Nantucket Sound, Tuckernuck Shoal
Coordinates: Latitude, 41o - 24.1'N   Longitude, 70o - 13'W
         Loran:
   From Somerset, Massachusetts, with a load of paving blocks bound for Philadelphia, the tern schooner French Van Gilder struck on Tuckernuck Shoal the evening of March 29th and bilged. Her crew was safely landed on Nantucket with no loss of life.

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Dive Site Conditions

   Depth in feet:   maximum - ;    minimum -
Visibility in feet:     average -
   This should make an interesting dive site, if the ever-shifting sand and gravel banks of the region haven't buried it. Four wrecks reportedly occupy this site. The trend was started by French Van Gilder whose cargo of paving stones established the back breaking reef which claimed the second wreck, Alice M. Lawrence, in 1914. A six masted schooner, without cargo. Three years later the Canadian coal schooner Unique laid her bones atop the pile and the last was, appropriately, a small salvage ship.


Click on the image to go to the MapTech Map Server,
for additional navigation information.

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Historical Background

Constructed:    year - 1879;    where - Dennisville, New Jersey.
                   builder -
Construction details: Built of Oak and Pine; Iron fastenings
Crew: ;     Master: Churchill
Owners: P.M. Wheaton
Home or Hailing Port:
Former Name(s) and date(s):
Official number: 127377      Country: U.S.A.
Other Comments:
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Salvage

   April 22, 1885, the steam tug C. M. Winch Rich at Vinalhaven reported that about 30000 paving blocks had been recovered from the schooner, loaded onto the lighter Oak and discharged at Edgartown.

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Sources:
MapTech Mapserver
New England Shipwrecks, Luther; 1967
New York Maritime Register; April 1 & 29, 1885
The Record, "American Lloyds", American Bureau of Shipping; 1885

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   These files are under construction. Any information, specifically dive site related, would be greatfully appreciated.  

Send comments to: Chris Hugo

Copyright 2000 by Christopher C. Hugo
Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources
All Rights Reserved