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Synopsis

Freshwater Heritage: A History of Sail on the Great Lakes, 1670-1918 represents the culmination of a lifelong passion for sailing and for the history of sail as it applies to Canada. Author/sailor/boat builder Don Bamford takes us deep into the psyche of sailing as it applies to historical events on the Great Lakes and to stories of the people and places there at the time.

His extensive historical research takes us back to the time of European contact, through the fate of the luckless Griffon and the achievements of the French in the era of sail. From the 1760s through to 1815, Bamford chronicles the glory years of the brigs, the schooners, the snows and the warships that dominated the lakes during the war years, with a particular emphasis on the War of 1812 and the race for naval domination of the Great Lakes.

Much deserving attention is given to the shipbuilders and to the challenges of constructing these vessels in the wilderness of the colonies, all supported by carefully researched detail. Bamford also documents the critical role played by sailing vessels in the settlement process as newly arrived immigrants struggled to establish a home in a new land.

The commercial role of sail on the Great Lakes is captured through the refinements to the schooners, the place of ships in the fur trade, the early days of fishing the lakes as an industry, the role of the timber droghers, the stone hookers and the first ore carriers of the first part of the 20th century. Never before has the place of sailing vessels in the early history of Canada’s Great Lakes been so inclusive, and made so accessible to the general reader.

Richly illustrated with archival visuals and photographs of significant works of art, and supported by a full index and extensive end matter, Freshwater Heritage is a must for both the armchair historian and those who love to sail.

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