Zac McDorrI’m always on a treasure hunt. This week’s coolest find might be a copy of the Coastal Journal from 1967, which celebrates the launch of the first America replica, built by Goudy and Stevens in East Boothbay.

The original America was a schooner built in 1851 by Commodore John Stevens of the New York Yacht Club, who wanted to enter races and show off U.S. shipbuilding skill. On Aug. 22 of that year, the America entered a regatta in England, a 53-mile race around the Isle of Wight. Queen Victoria donated the prize, which was called the “100 Guinea Cup.”

The America got off to a slow start and suffered a broken jib, but snagged the lead later on by taking a shortcut around a lightship. She won the race by 18 minutes and took home the cup, which was renamed the America’s Cup.

The America was sold to British owners, and later was purchased by the Confederacy and used as a blockade runner. After sinking, she was raised by the Union and used on the blockade, therefore serving both sides during the Civil War. The end came in the 1940s when the ship was destroyed by a collapsing shed in a snowstorm.

The replica built in Boothbay was commissioned by Rudolph Schaefer, of the Schaefer Beer Company, who wanted to build it for a television documentary. The replica was a wooden duplicate of the original, with a few modern conveniences like air conditioning and a refrigerator.

The launch was a major event, attended by Margaret Chase Smith, the Maine Maritime Band, news crews, a helicopter with documentary filmmakers from National Geographic, and thousands of regular folks.

The America replica returned to Boothbay for several refits, but seems to have dropped off the map. A new replica was built in 1995, but I can find no evidence that the 1967 version still exists.

Source: Coastal Journal, May 6, 1967.