Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Days of Sail

The 19th century was the Great Age of Sail, and the Outer Banks played a major role in maritime traffic of the era. According to a History of Portsmouth Village ( "in 1842, over 1,400 vessels and two-thirds of the exports of the state passed through Ocracoke Inlet."

Charles T. Williams, II (born prior to the turn of the twentieth century), in this book, The Kinnakeeter, describes the Kinnakeet Atlantic Anchorage Basin, just north of Cape Hatteras as "a peaceful and restless anchorage for the sailing ships of all nations." He writes, "I remember when I was a boy the wind during one summer blew from the southwest forty days, and during that forty days two- or three-hundred sailing vessels, barks, barkentines, fully rigged square-riggers, two-, three-, and four-masted shooners of all description were anchored in the Kinnakeet Anchorage Basin.

Sketch by Philip Howard

"People that never saw the anchorage filled with ships can only have an artist's conception of what it looked like. During the night a brisk shift of wind to the northwest [blew up], and in the early morning the ships, with all sails spread, sailing in a southeast direction, were a beauty to stir one's memory forever."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about one of the early July 4th Parades written by Alice Rondthaler in 1953. It is accompanied by vintage photos.You can read the Newsletter here:  


  1. Philip, you have many talents.

  2. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Good drawing. better than my scratch!