American Queen vs Natchez
World's Largest Steamboat
Author Doug Brinkley
America's largest steamboat, the American Queen, returned to the country's waterways on Jan. 25, 2003, kicking off the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Celebration. To mark the American Queen's homecoming, she raced the reigning champion, the Natchez, in the New Orleans "Louisiana Legends Steamboat Race."
With an average speed of 7 to 10 miles per hour, the 418-foot-long steamboat faced-off with the Natchez at 11:30 a.m. The race lasted approximately 30 minutes.
To celebrate the bicentennial and the American Queen's legacy, author Doug Brinkley came aboard to share stories from his latest book, "The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: from the Louisiana Purchase to Today." The book contains first hand research and photos taken during a cruise aboard the Delta Queen, American Queen's sister paddlewheeler, by Brinkley and his co-author, the late Stephen Ambrose. During the cruise, Brinkley talked about the history of the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River, and steamboats.
Before the race, guests got in the steamboatin' spirit with a dueling calliope concert. While aboard the 436-passenger American Queen, passengers enjoyed tales of America's Great Steamboat Era from "Riverlorian" Karen Maloy, and authentic Steamboatin' cuisine.
After the race, passengers cruised to Baton Rouge before returning to Robin Street Wharf in New Orleans.
No tradition is more steeped in Americana or heavy with history than steamboat racing. As the Louisiana Purchase signifies America's most significant real estate transaction, the American Queen's homecoming epitomizes the authentic, all-American travel experience.
Originally launched in 1995, the American Queen cruises the inland rivers of America from New Orleans to St. Paul on the Mississippi River and as far as Pittsburgh on the Ohio River. The American Queen returns to the river following the Delaware North Company's acquisition of her parent company, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, in May 2002. She now joins her sister ships, the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen, as they cruise through America's heartland.
Often dubbed the "floating palace," the American Queen affords historic cruisers modern amenities masked in opulent Victorian décor. Travelers flock to the steamboat to discover life along the river as Mark Twain did many of them returning again and again.
Delta Queen Steamboat Company
The Delta Queen Steamboat Company is America's oldest continuously operating cruise line, offering 3- to 11-night river cruises throughout the Heartland and Old South. The company, which traces its roots to 1890, boasts authentic steam-powered paddle wheelers Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and American Queen. These vessels cruise on the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee Rivers, and on the Intracoastal Waterway in Louisiana and Texas.
The Delta Queen Steamboat Company is headquartered in New Orleans, its homeport for more than 15 years. The company hosts nearly 30,000 visitors annually in New Orleans and other ports regularly visited by the steamboats. Book your Delta Queen Cruise Line adventure online.
in Port Dover,
One hundred fifty years ago a great tragedy occurred in the waters of Lake Erie not far from Port Dover, Ontario, Canada. On an August night in 1852, as the village slept, a drama with an international cast was being played out on the waves off Long Point.
Five hundred souls were traveling west on the steamer Atlantic that night European immigrants fleeing a continent wracked by famine and social upheaval, along with well-to-do members of the ambitious American business class, who were even then turning their nation into a new world power. Politics, technology, ambition, and fate had thrown all of them together on a sleek wooden side-wheeler that was hurling down the lake to Detroit in the black of night. One third of them never arrived.
At 2:30 a.m. the Atlantic collided with the propeller-driven Ogdensburg and within a few hours she had plunged to the bottom. Over 150 lives were lost as a result of the accident, along with hundreds of tons of cargo and a fortune in currency and gold which was being shipped by the American Express Company.
The lure of the Atlantic's treasure was powerful, but for over 100 years the great depth of the wreck taxed both the endurance and the equipment of divers and salvagers. The village of Port Dover figured into a number of these recovery ventures over the years. In time the American Express safe was recovered, but subsequent dives and attempts to raise the ship proved fruitless. Eventually the location of the famous wreck and even her remarkable story were all but forgotten.
Not entirely forgotten. In 1984, guided by old accounts and tips from local fishermen, Mike Fletcher, a young diver from Port Dover became the first person in over 70 years to touch the deck of the steamer Atlantic.
In the years following, with the aid of modern equipment, hundreds of priceless artifacts were recovered both by Fletcher and by an American diving company who had come to the wreck site with their own claim to the ship and her contents. A legal dispute over the ownership of the artifacts ended with the courts awarding them to the Province of Ontario.
The collection has remained in the possession of the province since then but has not been accessible for public viewing until now.
A new chapter in the Atlantic story begins. The Port Dover Harbour Museum is pleased to announce that with the cooperation of the Ontario Ministry of Culture, this extraordinary collection of artifacts has become a part of its permanent collection, and from now on will be accessible to the public both at the museum and through travelling exhibits. The first full-scale exhibit opened at the museum on Saturday October 12th, 2002. At a special ceremony Mike Fletcher presented the museum with the final two of the recovered Atlantic artifacts.
The exhibition "STEAMER ATLANTIC" will tell the story of the Atlantic, her crew, her passengers, and of the world they lived in. It will also include a fascinating account of the divers from Johnny Green to Mike Fletcher who have explored the wreck over the years. "STEAMER ATLANTIC" will present scores of well-preserved artifacts, ranging from articles of clothing and personal effects to ships fittings, tools, and dining room china.
In the week leading up to the exhibit opening diver Mike Fletcher and museum curator Ian Bell were available to answer questions and gave sneak previews of the exhibit and Atlantic artifacts.
For more information about the Port Dover Harbour Museum, call 519/583-2660. For information about Port Dover and other parts of Norfolk County, call 866/834-1726 ext. 292 or visit www.norfolkcounty.on.ca.
At the outbreak of the War of 1812, the American Navy consisted of only 17 ships eight frigates, two brigs, and seven assorted smaller vessels, including a few schooners, which saw service in the Barbary Wars.
When a nation went to war, owners of private vessels were granted special permissions, called "letters of marque," to prey upon the enemy's shipping thus evolved "privateers." While rarely engaging enemy warships, their impact was felt by English merchants who insisted on warship escorts for their vessels. To perform this duty, warships were drawn away from engaging the scant American Navy and blockading our coast, and thus did the privateers, motivated by profit, assist in our national defense.
Among the Baltimore privateers was the sharply built tops'l schooner, LYNX.
Privateers were so effective at running the British blockade and harassing the British merchant fleet that the ship yards, which built them, became primary targets for British revenge. The most notorious of these were at Fell's Point, (Baltimore) Maryland.
But in order to get to them, the British force had to sail beyond Ft. McHenry, which protected the entrance to Baltimore's inner harbor and Fell's Point. For 25 hours on September 13 and 14 in 1814, the British bombarded the fort with over 1500 iron shot and mortar shells, but were unable to achieve their goal. It was here, on the morning of the 14th of September that Francis Scott Key, a lawyer from Georgetown, DC, was moved to write the "Star Spangled Banner", which, 131 years later, became the American National Anthem.
Although captured early in the war, the original Lynx, with her rakish profile and superior sailing abilities, served as an inspiration to those ships that would follow.
When a privateer left port in 1812, she departed on a "cruize of opportunity" with the sole purpose to seek out enemy vessels on the high seas in order to capture them, their cargo, and crew.
Learn first hand what freedom means in American history, and what it means for us today. Hoist the sails, take your watch, and sail aboard Lynx in her glory as a defender of the American heritage.
The replica, also called theLynx, is an interpretation of an actual privateer named Lynx built by Thomas Kemp in 1812 in Fell's Point, Maryland. She was among the first ships to defend American freedom by evading the British naval fleet then blockading American ports and serving in the important privateering efforts.
The modern square topsail schooner Lynx has been designed and built to interpret a naval schooner from the War of 1812. Dedicated to all those who cherish the blessings of America, Lynx sails as a living history museum, providing inspiration and resolve at this time in our nation's history. She is fitted with period ordnance and flies pennants and flags from the 1812 era. Members of the crew wear period uniforms and operate the ship in keeping with the maritime traditions of early 19th Century America.
Lynx serves as a classroom for the study of historical, environmental, and ecological issues. Lynx was launched on July 28, 2001 in Rockport, Maine, and joins the Sea Base for her first educational season.
You are able to view this magnificent re-creation of a 19th century American Privateer, and sail for fun and drama filled daysail or on extended scheduled sailings; Lynx is also available for private charters, as well as team-building and group functions, out of the Sea Base in Newport Beach, California.
At 80-feet on deck, and 122-feet from sprit to stern, the Lynx is one of the most unique vessels to ply America's coast since 1812. This U.S.-flagged ship is built of Douglas fir and southern pine. Her spars are of Sitka spruce. She sports over 4,500 square feet of sail when fully rigged. Lynx is manned by a full-time crew of five, and is certified to carry up to 40 "trainees" for daysail adventures.
||"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones that you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
Contact The Lynx
509 29th St.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Director, Woodson K. Woods
While Lynx has honored the spirit of the original vessel in her design and accoutrements, she was modified to meet current U.S. Coast Guard regulations and safety requirements. New tools and modern techniques have only enhanced the time-honored craft of wooden boat building.
The planning, design and construction of Lynx have respected her early American maritime heritage, but have added a healthy infusion of modern technology to help insure safe passage. For more information on the Lynx, visit http://privateerlynx.com/
Compiled by John Smeltzer, Denver Correspondent. Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature on the American Galapagos, sailing on the Dirigo II to the Catalina Islands.