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The Captain Edward H. Adams

When I looked out the window of
theGeorge Marshall Gallery on the York River
and saw the gundalow covered for the winter
I had to call up my friend Michael Gowell.

He has been captain of
the Captain Edward H. Adams
since 1989 and all I know about the Gundalow
I have learned from him.

It's a replica of the Fanny M,
the last working gundalow,
launched in 1886 and built and operated
by Ed Adams of Durham Point
back when the river was the road.

The boat was designed with a flat bottom
to sail over shallow water and dock on mud flats.
There was a large flat deck so materials
could be loaded and unloaded from the boat's surface.

The flat boat could also sail up shallow rivers.
It could move 70 tons of brick
from Portsmouth to Newmarket in 3 hours.
It had a middle eastern rig.
The sail hung from the yard
and you could dip the yard
when you went under a bridge and keep going.

The old boats had 4 plugs
and instead of bailing out water
they took out the plug and drained the boat.
Pretty smart if you ask me.

Every year Michael takes the gundalow
from York to Portsmouth in early May.
It stays there for 4 months.
Then in September it goes to the Great Bay.

Learn more about this ship when it comes
to your river this summer.

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