Launch of the Gundalow Piscataqua

A crowd turns out to see the gundalow_ Piscataqua_ be christened in Portsmouth, N.H. Read more here.


Construction of the gundalow took place in a temporary shed built on a vacant parcel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Strawberry Banke. Mark Pillsbury


The gundalows, whose design dates back to the 1600, are shallow draft sailing barges, designed to navigate the shallows of the Great Bay and its adjacent rivers. The Piscataqua was built using local woods grown in the Northeast and Nova Scotia. Mark Pillsbury


Just before launch day, workers oiled the white pine deck. Piscataqua‘s hull is built of white oak planks, laid over hackmatack and live oak frames. Mark Pillsbury


Unlike her ancestors, Piscataqua was built to U.S. Coast Guard standards and fitted out with a diesel engine. To help manage the rudder, stopper chains were added.


**The Piscataqua joins the original gundalow replica, the Captain Edward H. Adams, which was launched as a floating classroom in 1982, but lacked U.S. Coast Guard certification. Building a second boat that could carry area students and the public has been a longtime goal of Molly Bolster, executive director of the Gundalow Co.
Mark Pillsbury


The original gundalow replica, Captain Edward H. Adams, sits at its dock at Prescott Park, in downtown Portsmouth. The boat will continue to be used for dockside educational programs. Mark Pillsbury


Launch day was cold and breezy, but still a crowd of several hundred turned out to see Piscataqua off. Mark Pillsbury


House movers built a steel frame under the boat (you can see the orange beams) to move it from its shed at Strawberry Banke across the bridge to Pierce Island. Mark Pillsbury


With towboats at the bow and stern, Piscataqua is moved to her new berth at Prescott Park. Over the winter, a 20-foot mast and a 65-foot yard, which can be raised and lowered to get under bridges will be installed. By summer, the gundalow will be ready to go with its 1,000-square-foot sail. Mark Pillsbury