|The Pinky Schooner MAINE - a replica built by the Maine Maritime Museum volunteers under Lance Lee in the 1980s.|
Our friend Frank Hertel said his colleagues at work were asking what a pinky is so we have a brief description here by way of explanation. Pinky schooners were a common type of New England fishing vessel that sailed out of local Cape Ann harbors from the early eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. In 1839, there were 64 registered pinky schooners out of the Cape Ann and its district. Pinkies were generally smaller vessels from which men fished over the side but they were also known for their seaworthiness. These vessels were so distinctive in their look and common that a careful study of many marine paintings from the era will have a pinky or two in the background. Many of the paintings of the internationally renowned artist Fitz Henry Lane, including those in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. usually have pinkies in the background of the painting. "Pinky" means that the stern is "pinked" or pinched together which indicates a pointed stern and may originally be a Dutch word.
It is believed that the pinkies developed from Chebacco boats. A good many of them were built at Essex. These vessels were built to a very high standard and some lasted a very long time. The original MAINE was built in 1845 and sailed until 1926. The ARDELLE is a typical full-rigged clipper Pinky and her design is largely based on the original MAINE – a replica of which is pictured here - although the Ardelle will actually be larger and have more of a clipper feel.