Tuesday, January 30, 2018


The first mention I could find of a snow at Ocracoke was on April 15, 1770. It was then that the Lillie, on her way to Ocracoke under command of Captain Ewer, wrecked about 10 miles north of the village. Although the crew and cargo were saved, the vessel, a snow, was lost.

You read correctly...I am writing about a square-rigged sailing vessel, not winter precipitation. A snow (according to Wikipedia, "[t]he word 'snow' comes from 'snauw' which is an old Dutch word for beak; a reference to the characteristic sharp bow of the vessel.") was a ship with two masts plus a "snow mast." The latter had a loose-fitted gaff sail, and was stepped immediately behind the main mast. In the diagram below you can see that the gaff sail (a four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged sail, supported by a spar or pole called the gaff) is attached to a separate mast directly behind the main mast.

Diagram by Refundpolitics for Wikipedia

Snows were popular, especially in Europe, from the late 17th century, and were still to be seen in North Carolina one hundred years later.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about Old Christmas in Rodanthe. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/old-christmas-rodanthe/.   

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Great stuff AGAIN Philip! Thank you. Where else would I have learned this? Interesting as usual. NS


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