Staying True to Shenandoah for 50 Years

This week concludes Capt. Robert Douglas’ 50th summer skippering the Shenandoah, what amounts to the longest-running relationship between a captain and his boat he’s ever heard of.

“To my knowledge, no one has ever been tied up to the same boat, without interruption for 50 years,” he said this week on the porch outside his office in Vineyard Haven.

History Retold

The other day I was looking at a photo taken from Pam Clark’s old house of Shenandoah, at anchor in back of the Black Dog, and waxing nostalgic. Then today I read about Shenandoah’s namesake, and the original Alabama. I had thought they had been Confederate blockade runners, sort of romantic vessels.

Captain Courageous: Robert S. Douglas and Shenandoah Remain as One

It's said that her name is Indian by origin and means Daughter of the Stars, but in truth she is more like the daughter of Capt. Robert S. Douglas. He planned for her, he provided everything she ever needed, and in return, she has never gone anywhere without him.

Topsail Schooner and Boatline Spar Over Town Harbor Space

Since 1964, the tall ship Shenandoah has brought picturesque maritime charm to Vineyard Haven, moored in the same place in the harbor. But maybe not for much longer.

The Army Corps of Engineers has written to the owners of the 150-foot wooden sloop, the Douglas family, threatening to suspend the permit for the ship to moor there unless they can come up with some solution that resolves persistent complaints from the Steamship Authority that the Shenandoah is a hazard to ferry operations.

Maine Shipyard Restores, Relaunches The Black Dog Tall Ship Shenandoah

A thoroughly refurbished schooner Shenandoah was relaunched Saturday morning at Boothbay Harbor in Maine.

The Shenandoah, one of the Black Dog tall ships that sail from Vineyard Haven harbor, had undergone about six months of extensive rebuilding at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.

“We essentially did what is referred to as retopping — a rebuilding of the vessel from the waterline up,” said Bob Foster, a spokesman for the shipyard.

Schooner High and Dry for Repairs — Again

Shenandoah, the graceful 108-foot topsail schooner that has long been a landmark in the Vineyard Haven harbor, is laid up at a Fairhaven shipyard, her majestic hull stripped bare and her ribs exposed as she undergoes extensive work to reverse a botched restoration job performed by a shipyard in Maine last year.

Robert Douglas, who is both captain and owner of the Shenandoah, has sued the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard for the apparently shoddy work that left his schooner taking on seawater last summer while she was filled with school children.

Schooner Shenandoah to Move, Ending Long Dispute With SSA

After more than a decade of wrangling which threatened to see the historic tall ship the Shenandoah removed from Vineyard Haven harbor, the ship’s owners and the Steamship Authority have reached an agreement which will allow the vessel to stay.

In deference to concerns held by SSA captains that the old ship presented a collision hazard to ferry operations, the owners, Black Dog Tall Ships, have agreed to move Shenandoah’s mooring within the harbor, to which it has added picturesque maritime charm since 1964.

Myles Thurlow, Man Behind the Spars

When the topsail schooner Shenandoah goes sailing this summer, credit for some of the work this spring in preparing the beautiful wooden vessel for another season goes to a 26-year-old West Tisbury resident. Working in his shop in the woods, Myles Thurlow built and restored several important spars on the 47-year-old Shenandoah.

A Cronkite Award for Captain Douglas

Robert S. Douglas, captain of the topsail schooner Shenandoah, received the Walter Cronkite award Saturday at the 21st annual Sail Martha’s Vineyard Seafood Buffet and Auction at Tisbury Wharf. The award is bestowed to those who have distinguished themselves above and beyond, following the precepts of Sail Martha’s Vineyard’s own goals, to enrich the lives of others.