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Fly rails and flying jibs

Preserved history

Between 1926 and 1947, Robert H.I. Goddard photographed many of the last coasting schooners on the East Coast, catching them in their glory under way, laid up for repairs and eventually abandoned — on board and at a distance.

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His son, Thomas P.I. Goddard, and granddaughter Caroline Hazard Goddard compiled 165 photos from his collection of 500 in “Fly Rails and Flying Jibs,” (2011, Mystic Seaport, hardcover, 279 pages, $39.95), a coffee table book that documents a bygone era.

Goddard’s lens captured vessels from Nova Scotia to Florida, including the Crowell & Thurlow schooners laid up in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and schooners unloading at Providence, R.I. Goddard, who died in 2003, was a financier, philanthropist and sailor first, and his work was more like that of a documentarian than a trained artist.
Schooner captains and historians Douglas K. and Linda J. Lee provide written histories of each schooner. An appendix has three of the articles Goddard wrote about the four-masted Anna R. Heidritter, which he photographed several times before it was driven ashore in a storm at Cape Hatteras, N.C., in 1942.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue.