Monday, June 3, 2013


Below is a 1890 photo from the Mystic Seaport Museum collection  of the sandbagger Annie.  These boats were the extreme sailboats of their day. Like most sandbaggers, Annie's sail plan was twice as long as her 28-foot hull. These wide, shallow boats needed crews of more than 10 to handle their huge sails and shift the 50-pound bags of sand ballast that helped keep the boats upright and gave them their name. Because they were so shallow, sandbaggers had a large centerboard, which could be lowered to prevent the boat from sideslipping downwind.

From the 1860s to the 1890s, sandbagger racing was a very popular sport from New York to New Orleans to San Francisco. With few rules, sandbagger racing was exciting, but it died out in the 1890s after yacht clubs developed "Corinthian"-amateur-regulations and measurement rules for handicapping racing yachts.

Today in Annapolis harbor are two sandbaggers, one called Bear and the other Bull. (Stockbrokers mayhap?) They are beautiful boats and use water jugs instead of 50 lb sandbags for ballast.


  1. They retain an old-fashioned charm that's hard to find now - such beauty in something so useful! Too bad not everything is made that way now...

  2. Smashing. My favourite kind of boat: wood and sails! :-)

  3. I must give credit to my son for the first photo. He was willing to hang over the dock to get this shot.


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