February 6, 2006 A luxury sailing yacht built by the Italian company Perini Navi in Turkey was launched. This yacht is known as the Maltese Falcon, the title of a classic 1930 detective novel written by Dashiell Hammett. The eponymous bird figuring prominently in that novel and four film adaptations of it (including a 1941 version... Continue Reading →

January 25, 2011 A sail training ship built for the Indian Navy was launched at the port city of Vasco da Gama on India’s western coast. This ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy just a little over a year later by K.N. Sushil, a vice admiral of the Indian Navy and the flag officer... Continue Reading →

January 3, 1942 Just a little less than a month after the United States entered World War II on the side of the Allies, a yacht was acquired by the U.S. Navy from William F. Ladd for use in that global conflict. (Ladd had been adjutant general of Connecticut between 1930 and 1939 and would... Continue Reading →

December 8, 1930 The diesel-powered vessel Aras was launched by her manufacturer Bath Iron Works at the Maine-based company’s location on the Kennebec River. Measuring 243 feet and nine inches (74 meters) in length, this luxury yacht had been built for paper and wood products magnate Hugh J. Chisholm. His wife Sara (“Aras” is her... Continue Reading →

October 10, 1848 The first railroad locomotive to operate in Chicago arrived in the city via schooner. This steam locomotive, aptly named the Pioneer, had been built in 1837 for the Utica and Schenectady Railroad (U&S) in New York. Originally called Alert, this locomotive was used by the U&S for nine years before being sold to the... Continue Reading →

August 30, 1890 The U.S. Congress appropriated $75,000 for the construction of a vessel for the U.S. Lighthouse Board. This vessel was Amaranth, and she would serve for more than a half-century throughout much of the Great Lakes region as a lighthouse tender. Lighthouse tenders provide various kinds of support to the individuals serving at... Continue Reading →

August 17, 1807 The world’s first commercially successful steamboat service was launched when the North River Steamboat left New York City for Albany, New York, via the Hudson River (widely known at that time as the North River). The North River Steamboat -- often erroneously called the Clermont instead -- had been built at New York... Continue Reading →

July 18, 1945 About a month-and-a-half before World War II ended altogether with the surrender of Japan to the Allies, the U.S. Navy patrol yacht USS Tourmaline (PY-20) was decommissioned. This vessel had been used for various patrol assignments throughout the war. Tourmaline had actually started out as a private yacht named Sylvia. She was... Continue Reading →

June 30, 1887 A yacht named Volunteer, which had been built by the Pusey and Jones Company for that year’s edition of the international sailing competition known as the America’s Cup, was officially launched. Volunteer was specifically a sloop (a sailboat with a single mast) equipped with a centerboard, which is a retractable keel that... Continue Reading →

June 27, 1898 Joshua Slocum completed the first solo circumnavigation of the world at 1:00 a.m. when he sailed into the harbor at Newport, Rhode Island, on board his oyster sloop (a type of one-masted sailboat) named the Spray. The Canadian-born Slocum had first set sail in that vessel from Boston on April 25, 1895,... Continue Reading →

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