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The First Perilous Voyage of Privateer Lynx

Privateer Lynx on Goose River Bridge/ SeacoastNH.comHISTORY MATTERS

IIn July 2001 the new tall ship Privateer Lynx was ready to be hauled from Rockport Marine in Maine to the nearby harbor for a triumphant launching ceremony. But getting the $3 million schooner there was risky business. The following is an exclusive excerpt from the book "America’s Privateer" to be published in hardcover in 2011. (Read exceprt below)


Two steep hills, two sharp turns, and a towering bridge separated the newborn Lynx from the sea. Cradled just yards away from the harbor, her sleek dark hull was two wide for the hulking travel-lift at Rockport Marine. The problem of moving Privateer Lynx had been on builder Taylor Allen’s mind since the project was proposed in 1998. No boat of her size and weight had ever climbed the incline up Main Street, twisted 90 degrees onto Pascal Avenue, rolled across the Goose River Bridge and down the hairpin turn to the public launch. Allen could trace the entire path from his windows at Rockport Marine, but to pull off the move, he needed outside help. In New England, there was only one man to call.

BUY THE BOOK NOW: Lynx and the War of 1812
READ ALSO: Privateer Lynx Heads East

VISIT LYNX: Privateer Lynx and the tall ship Bounty will be in the port of Portsmouth near Prescott Park on Memorial Day weekend and will be open for tours. CLICK FOR DETAILS

Lynx Hauled in Rockport Maine / Lynx Educational FoundationTom Brownell moves big boats. His father David Brownell literally invented the concept of waterproof hydraulic boat trailers in 1954. Back then Brownell needed a way to get the rugged power boats that he manufactured at Mattapoisett, Massachusetts in and out of the water along Cape Cod. In the process, he also invented the adjustable metal boat stands now seen in boatyards everywhere. Son Tom took the family business down a tricky new road in 1984 when a wealthy Camden man hired him to haul the 90-foot Whitefin. The yacht had been constructed on the tennis court of the owner’s private estate with no way to truck it out. Brownell took on the challenge and hasn’t looked back. His company has since moved trains, gigantic tanks, a 200-foot long pole, and even a 60 x 30-foot wide catamaran along public roads.

"We are very skilled in the gentle application of enormous force," Brownell says today, quoting the family motto. "We have done boats way heavier than Lynx. We have done boats longer. But we usually move them on relatively flat ground and down very gradual ramps so there’s nowhere near the force necessary to overcome gravity."

Before taking on the biggest project of his career, Allen got Brownell’s promise that, once built, Lynx could reach the water. It was, Brownell admits, far from a typical project. To be safe, he brought enough mechanical muscle to pull 200 tons.

"It’s all about fighting gravity," he says. "We overcame it with more winching force. We had four tractors pulling [Lynx] up the hill. All my tractors are automatic transmissions, so I can use them like teams of oxen. I can bring on more and more and they all share the load equally."


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Thursday, January 18, 2018 
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