Name: Mercantile
Builder: Billings Family
Launched: 1916
General characteristics
Length: 155 ft (47 m) LOA, 80 ft (24 m) on deck[1]
  • 10 ft 7 in (3.23 m)
  • 5 ft (1.5 m) (centerboard up)
Propulsion: Sail, auxiliary engine
Sail plan: gaff-rigged two-masted schooner
Notes: shoal draft centerboard
Mercantile (schooner)
LocationCamden Harbor, Camden, Maine
Coordinates44°12′36.10″N 69°3′45.87″W / 44.2100278°N 69.0627417°W / 44.2100278; -69.0627417Coordinates: 44°12′36.10″N 69°3′45.87″W / 44.2100278°N 69.0627417°W / 44.2100278; -69.0627417
ArchitectBillings Family
NRHP reference No.82005265 & 90001470[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP4 December 1991
Designated NHL4 December 1991 "Mercantile (schooner)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2008-06-25.</ref>

Mercantile is a two-masted schooner berthed in Camden Harbor, Camden, Maine. Built in the 1914-16 on Little Deer Isle, Maine, she is one of a small number of such vessels still afloat from a time when they were one of the most common cargo vessels of the coasting trade. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991, she now serves as a "Maine windjammer", offering multi-day sailing cruises to tourists.

Description and history

Mercantile is a total of 115 feet (35 m) long, with a deck 80 feet (24 m) and 22 feet (6.7 m) wide. Her normal sailing rig consists of a mainsail, foresail, two headsails, and no topsails. She is framed and planked out of white oak, and has a pine deck. Her woodwork was originally fastened by treenails, but when restored these were changed to galvanized spikes.[3]

Mercantile was built on Little Deer Isle, Maine by members of the Billings family over three seasons, and was launched in 1916. From then until 1943 the Billingses operated her in the coasting trade as one of thousands of such vessels built. In 1943 she was briefly involved in the mackerel fisheries of southern New England, before she was sold to Frank Swift and adapted for use as a tourist vessel. In the 1930s Swift conceived of the idea of using these vessels, which were generally laid up in coves and harbors and left to rot, to carry paying customers on sailing cruises, and this was one of the early vessels he used for this purpose. Although she has undergone several ownership changes, she has always operated in the tourist trade out of Camden Harbor.[3] Her most recent major restoration was in 1989.

See also


  1. ^ "Mercantile". mainewindjammercruises.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Dean, Nicholas; Mohney, Kirk R. (October 1990). Delgado, James P. (ed.). "Mercantile" (pdf). Maritime Heritage of the United States NHL Study—Large Vessels. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-05. and "Accompanying Photos" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-05.