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On July 19, 2007, the mizzen royal yard of the NPS tall ship Friendship of Salem was sent aloft and put in place. With the placement of this yard, the rigging of the ship is complete for the first time. This marks the culmination of thousands of hours of work on Friendship from NPS staff members, contractors, and hundreds of volunteers over the last eleven years.
Among sailing vessels, a “ship” is defined as a vessel with three or more masts, carrying square sails on all masts. These sails are set on horizontal yards that are perpendicular, or “square” to the keel, which runs the length of the bottom of the ship. Friendship also sets “fore and aft” sails, which help her sail closer to the direction from which the wind is blowing. Fully rigged, Friendship flies eleven square sails and six fore-and-aft sails for a total of 17 sails with a total area of nearly a quarter of an acre. Over fifty miles of lines are used to hold the masts, yards, and sails in place and to manipulate the sails.
Friendship is a full-size replica of a cargo vessel built in Salem in 1797. These cargo vessels, designed and built to sail on trading voyages from Salem to ports around the world, were known as “East Indiamen” because they often sailed to ports in China, India, and Indonesia—the East Indies—where the most desirable luxury goods could be acquired. Just because the last yard has been put in place doesn’t mean that the work is done on Salem’s own tall ship. “We will always have plenty of work to do on her,” states Jeremy Bumagin, chief rigger and first mate for Friendship, “the rigging needs to be maintained, and like the original ship, we down-rig for the winter: remove the sails and the top yards to prevent damage from snow and ice storms.”
Friendship is berthed on Derby Wharf at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. For information about visiting the ship, please visit our web site.