Peter Wademan, Esperanto the Winner, 30″ x 40″, O/C
The Esperanto was a fishing schooner based in Gloucester, Massachusetts designed by Tom McManus of Boston and built by Tarr & James Shipbuilders of Essex, Massachusetts. She was launched on June 27, 1906, and measured 107 feet in length, 25 feet in beam, and a draft of 11 feet with gross tonnage of 140.
The Esperanto was used in several races and is one of only two undefeated champions at the International Fishing Vessel Championship. Under command of Captain M. Welch, Esperanto became the first winner of the International Fishing Vessel Championship on November 1, 1920, when she beat the Canadian fishing schooner Delawana of Riverport under command of Capt. Thomas Himmelman. The well-known sailing ship Bluenose later beat it.
The final race series took place in 1938. The Bluenose, by then 17 years of age, defeated the Thebaud one final time. Still handling as smartly as ever, Canada’s most famous sailing vessel was a tribute to the Nova Scotia shipwrights and sailors who built her and many other fishing and cargo schooners.
The Second World War ended the era of the great fishing schooners. Replaced by modern steel trawlers, the fleets of sailing salt-bankers no longer set out to challenge the cruel North Atlantic to reap a harvest of cod for the markets of the world.
On May 30, 1921, Schooner Esperanto struck a submerged wreck near Sable Island and sank. The crew was rescued.
“The Fisherman’s Race”, October 1930, Popular Mechanics
— They were the work horse of an ancient fleet. They have been called the fastest wind driven wooden vessels ever built. They stir the imagination of youth and old salt alike. Many were built right here on Cape Ann. In Essex alone from 1848 to 1853, 256 vessels were built and when the shipyards finally halted production in 1949, nearly 4000 vessels had been launched into the Essex River.