Mayflower and Other Colonial Vessels – W.A. Baker
In April 1957 a strange-looking sailing ship set out on a 54-day voyage across the Atlantic from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachussets. This tiny vessel was Mayflower II, a reconstruction of a typical merchant ship of the size and type of the original Mayflower that carried the Pilgrims to NorthAmerica in 1920. The success of Mayflower II established her designer, William A Baker, as a leading authority on early shipbuilding and naval architecture, and he later extended his studies to include the king of small craft which were widely used in the English North American colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The vessels – shallops, pinnaces, barks and ketches – were developments of European types, and so Baker’s work came to be highly valued on both sides of the Atlantic.
Like any good historian, Baker modified his views in the light of new information, and he completed a major revision and expansion of this previous works shortly before his death in 1981. The result is The Mayflower and Other Colonial Vessels, which therefore represents the final thoughts of an acknowledged expert on the design, construction and rigging of early colonial vessels.
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