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Racer
Brig
Historic Research Collection

Back to Shipwrecks

 

GPS Location: N45° 34.900’ W84° 08.919’
Depth: 11 Feet
Wreck Length: 130 Feet Beam: 28 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 257 Cargo: Iron Ore
Launched: 1856 by Benjamin B. Jones in Buffalo, New York
Wrecked: November 17, 1869
Description: Brigs were more complicated to sail and required larger crews than contemporary fore-and-aft rigged schooners. Their square sails necessitated crew to climb masts to handle sails, while a schooner’s sails could be managed from the deck. With more sail area, brigs and other square-rigged ships excelled on the open ocean where sails were set for days or even weeks. But the geography, wind patterns, and short distances between ports on the Great Lakes played to the advantage of fore-and-aft rigged schooners. Brigs of the middle 1850s like Racer are examples of the end of the Atlantic Coast’s square-rigged shipbuilding influence on Great Lakes vessels. Racer was sailing down Lake Huron with a cargo of iron ore from Marquette when it grounded just north of Hammond Bay. Its lower bilge assembly lies intact and provides a great opportunity to learn about this important period in Great Lakes shipbuilding history.

 

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wreck coordinates Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center