Two photos of the Canadian Government Steamship Brant from the Mac Irwin Album show how small the coal-fired buoy and lighthouse tender really was. More importantly they add to the story of the inter-club races up and down Northumberland Strait.
Earlier I had written about the role of the Brant in getting racing boats back and forth from regattas. At that time I had assumed from newspaper reports that the Brant accompanied the fleet and that smaller boats such as snipes were taken as deck cargo and that larger yachts had been towed. A newspaper account in 1939 said that three of the large Class 3 yachts were carried on the Brant. The photos show just how it was done.
Slung outboard from the davits of the Brant is a full-keeled yacht, one that looks like a Class 3. Two additional large boats, again probably Class 3 yachts can be made out behind the launch and a fourth boat can be seen at the stern of the Brant. What is particularly interesting is that the boat already hoisted aboard has its mast still in place. The Brant also carried the crews of several of the racing boats and officials from the Charlottetown Yacht Club to Shediac. In addition to the boats sent by the Brant several owners, including Mac Irwin, towed their boats behind powerboats from the Yacht Club. The 1939 Regatta in Shediac was a major yachting event for the region and was a big success for the Yacht Racing Association of Northumberland Strait.
The close working relationship between the Yacht Club and the Marine and Fisheries vessels rested on the harmonious attitude of the individuals concerned but also came from the long-time understanding that amateur sailors were the nursery for the navy. Such organizations as the Navy League, Sea Scouts and the yacht clubs provided valuable training and experience at a time when funding for naval activities was strained.
Behind the Brant is the S.S. Prince Edward Island. Since the launch of the S.S. Charlottetown in 1931 the Prince Edward Island had seen little use. It filled in for the Charlottetown when the latter went on its annual trip to dry dock for maintenance. The ship was called into full-time service again in 1941 when the Charlottetown struck a reef on its way to dry-dock in Saint John and was lost off Port Mouton in Nova Scotia.
These photos and the ones in your previous post are wonderful. I think I may have a print from the racing series. Thanks Harry.
A number of these photos, especially the larger format ones exist in several copies. I expect that Irwin or another of the yacht club photo enthusiasts made copies for friends. Still every photo tells a story. There are few enough pieces to the jigsaw puzzle and every image helps give a better view of what the club was about.
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