Wyoming (schooner)

Wyoming was a wooden six-masted schooner built and completed in 1909 by the firm of Percy & Small in Bath, Maine.[1] With a length of 450 ft (140 m) from jib-boom tip to spanker boom tip, Wyoming was the largest known wooden ship ever built.[4]

Schooner Wyoming in 1917
Namesake: Wyoming
Launched: 15 December 1909[1]
Fate: Foundered on 11 March 1924
General characteristics
Displacement: 10,000 short tons (9,100 metric tons) approx.
  • 450 ft (140 m) overall
  • 350 ft (110 m) on deck
  • 329.5 ft (100.4 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 50.1 ft (15.3 m)
Draught: 30.4 ft (9.3 m)
Depth of hold: 33 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Sail plan: six-masted schooner: 22 sails: 6 gaff main sails (No. 1 to 5 of equal size, spanker sail of larger size), 6 gaff topsails, 5 staysails, 5 foresails with 39,826.8 sq ft (3,700 m²) sail area
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement: 13[2] (last voyage), 16[3] (captain, 1st & 2nd mates, engineer, cook, cabin boy, 7 - 10 abs)

Because of her extreme length and wood construction, Wyoming tended to flex in heavy seas, which would cause the long planks to twist and buckle, thereby allowing sea water to intrude into the hold (see hogging and sagging). Wyoming had to use pumps to keep her hold relatively free of water. In March 1924, she foundered in heavy seas and sank with the loss of all hands.


Wyoming was 450 ft (140 m) overall, 350 ft (110 m) on deck, and 329.5 feet (100.4 m) between perpendiculars. She was 50 ft 1 in (15.27 m) wide, and had a draft of 30 ft 5 in (9.27 m). Her gross register tonnage (GRT) was 3730.54, equivalent to an internal volume of 373,054 cubic feet (10,563.7 m3). Her net register tonnage (NRT) was 3036.21, reflecting a cargo capacity of 303,621 cubic feet (8,597.6 m3), determined by subtracting the volume consumed by the helm and crew quarters and other areas not suitable for cargo from her GRT. She had a deadweight tonnage (DWT) of 6,004 long tons, that is, the weight of the ship fully loaded, including the crew, cargo (6,000 tons), fuel, water and stores, less the weight of the ship when totally empty (4,000 tons). It could carry 6,000 long tons of coal. Wyoming was built of yellow pine with 6" planking and there were 90 diagonal iron cross-bracings on each side.

Wyoming was equipped with a Hyde anchor windlass and a donkey steam engine to raise and lower sails, haul lines and perform other tasks. The steam engine was not used to power the ship, but permitted it to be sailed with a smaller crew of only 11 hands. She was named for the state of Wyoming because Wyoming Governor Bryant Butler Brooks (1907–1921) was one of the investors in the ship, which cost $175,000 in 1909 dollars. Another Percy & Small-built schooner, the five-masted Governor Brooks, was named after Brooks.


  • 1909 – 15 December. Launched at the Shipyard of "Percy & Small" with its masts stepped. First master: Captain Angus McLeod of Somerville, Massachusetts.[1]
  • 1909 – 21 December. Maiden voyage to Newport News, Virginia[5]
  • 1916 – In Charter of "International Paper Co."
  • 1917 – April. Sold to "France & Canada Steamship Co." for about $350,000 (probably about $420,000). By 1 October 1919, it had earned more than twice that amount, and its owners chartered it to load coal at Norfolk for Genoa at $23.50 per ton.
  • 1921 – Sold to Captain "A. W. Frost & Co.", Portland, Maine.
  • 1924 – Left Norfolk, Virginia, under command of Captain Charles Glaesel, for Saint John, New Brunswick, with a cargo of coal.
  • 1924 – 11 March. In order to ride out a nor'easter, it anchored off Chatham, Massachusetts, in the Nantucket Sound, together with the five-masted schooner Cora F. Cressey which had left Norfolk at the same time as Wyoming. Captain H. Publicover on the Cora F. Cressey weighed anchor at dusk and stood out to sea. Wyoming is believed to have foundered east of the Pollock Rip Lightship and the entire crew of 14 was lost.[6][7][8]
  • 2003 - Wyoming wreck located near Monomoy Island by American Underwater Search and Survey Ltd.[9][10]


  1. "Big Schooner is Launched" (pdf). The New York Times. 16 December 1909. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  2. WYOMING on shipmodelersassociation.org
  3. http://schoonerwyoming.com/crew_list.htm WYOMING on schoonerwyoming.com]
  4. Leinhard, John H. "The Schooner Wyoming". The Engines of Our Ingenuity. Episode 2492. KUHF-FM. University of Houston, College of Engineering.
  5. "Six-mast schooner WYOMING setting sail off the mouth of the Kennebec River, 1909". Maine Memory Network. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  6. "Location of Wyoming Wreck". Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  7. "American Underwater Search and Survey finds 'Wyoming', six-masted wooden giant of the sea". Archived from the original on November 21, 2003.
  8. "The Lightships of Nantucket Sound". Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  9. "Wreck of Wyoming found off Cape Cod; Largest wooden cargo ship sank in 1924". Bangor Daily News. The Associated Press. Retrieved 2003-11-10.
  10. "Wooden giant of sea is found". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved 2003-11-08.

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