The Last of the Fairhaven Coasters: The Story of Captain Claude S. Tucker and the Schooner Coral, by Robert Demanche, Donald F. Tucker and Caroline B. Tucker

coasterOnce, the masts of sailing vessels rose like forests growing in the bays along the east coast of the North America. The most visible species of sailing vessels was the schooner, the workhorse of coastal commerce. Competition from improving roads, the development of railroads and motorized boats gradually clear-cut the marine landscape. The story of Captain Tucker and the schooner Coral remind today’s reader of the way it was, and how something so vital and seemingly imperishable could pass into history. The Coral may have gone, but thanks to the authors, it left its mark. The schooner, Coral represented the end of an era in maritime history. Its master, Captain Claude S. Tucker and his family have documented the exploits of this versatile cargo craft, using primary sources, logs, and personal experiences to portray the life and death of Coral. Launched in 1878, battered by the Northeast’s hurricane of 1938, it languished in a shipyard as funding ran out. During its lively sixty years of marine enterprise, Coral hauled an amazing assortment of cargo between ports along the middle Atlantic and New England coasts. The authors describe the human interactions between Captain Tucker, his crew, his family and the various clients. They explain the understandings and contracts that governed life onboard coasters and led to their economic success or failure. History buffs, seamen and the general public will delight in this readable and well-documented account of the proud, versatile and industrious schooner, Coral.

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