Doug Hunter sails on Nonsuch, 1971

Doug Hunter was a TBI Alumni from 1965-1969.  He sailed aboard the NONSUCH – not sure how much of the journey that he sailed. But what a fascinating chance to participate in a historical event like this.

  • The Nonsuch was commissioned in 1967 by HBC to celebrate their tercentenary in 1970 as a replica of the original Nonsuch. The original Nonsuchwas the two-masted ketch and  was 37 feet long on the keel and 53 feet long and 15 feet wide [much smaller than Pathfinder and Playfair].  Nonsuch had a crew of 12 men in peace and 24 in wartime, also carring six to eight small cannons.
  • The replica Nonsuch was decorated with ornate carvings that were the work of Jack Whitehead of the Isle of Wight. [Jack Whitehead also carved the lost and then found Pathfinder  figurehead, Pocohontas (Poco). Poco was lost in a storm in 1978 and found several years later and is now displayed at Port Dover Marine Museum].
  • Nonsuch that sailed into Hudson Bay in 1668-1669, the first trading voyage for what was to become Hudson’s Bay Company two years later.
  •  The replica was built in England. After sailing in Europe, the replica Nonsuch  was shipped to Canada. It sailed up Atlantic Coast down the St-Lawrence. Then she sailed around Lake Ontario in 1970 and 1971 through the Toronto Harbour and through the Welland Canada into Lake Erie and as far as Chicago. In 1972, she was trailered  to Seattle and sailed up to BC – a total of 14,000 kms. In 1973, she was presented by HBC to the citizens of Manitoba and placed on permanent display in 1973 at the Nonsuch Gallery at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.
  • OK Schenk, who also did some fabulous watercolours of TBI’s brigantine’s, created this one “The Nonsuch at Sea”. [ A plaque on the frame is inscribed ‘Nonsuch presented to James Richard Murray by his colleagues in the Hudson Bay Company, December 1972’  Provenance: Property from the estate of James Richard Murray and Sarah Gene Murray, Calistoga, California]

  • Captain Adrian Small was her skipper. Captain Small kept personal records of this Voyage in “Adrian Small fonds”.   These records indicate Nonsuch and Pathfinder encountered each other at Toronto on August 22 & 24, 1970, at Port Credit on September 6, 1970, and at Toronto on June 14, 1971. According to entries in Adrian Small’s logs, Maurice Smith came on board on Aug. 22.   Nine Port Credit Sea Scouts and others were passengers on the Nonsuchon Sept. 6 at Port Credit.  [thanks to  Marcia Stentz at Hudson’s Bay Company Archives for looking it up].
  • Keith J. Duffield, as guest of the skipper and at special request of Captain Adrian Small to train onboard Pathfinder in the Fall of 197I, and was invited to join the Nonsuch crew in June 1971 for the Great Lakes Tour.
  • Jurgen Brauhohler, a TBI alumnus from 1973 to 1975, wrote an article about Nonsuch’s North American journeys in Flotilla, News and Views from the Outer Harbour Centreboard Club, Oct 2008, page 3.
  • Click here for picture of vessel at Niagara-on-the-Lake.
  • Here is a picture of Nonsuch arriving in Tacoma.
  • Here is a newspaper clipping of the vessel at Welland Canal.

TBI inherited Nonsuch‘s  day boat “Shallop”  that was used for a while at Waupoos Island.  The Nonsuch sloop was in TBI’s possession from August 1971 to November 1974, when it was shipped to the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.   The diesel engine from the Shallop was later used in “Pursuit” which was used as the ferry boat for Waupoos Island.

The records of the Nonsuch replica, including Adrian Small’s logs, are available at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba.  These records were donated to HBCA by HBC in 2007

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One response

  1. Jurgen Braunohler | Reply

    Response from Jurgen Braunohler to query regarding ketch Nonsuch:

    No, I did not sail aboard Nonsuch, but had talked to Doug Hunter many years ago about his experience. The rest came from a book I read about Nonsuch and other literature on 17th. Century ketches. It’s too bad, because I prefer to get my hands dirty as well when doing story research. The ketches are thought to have been the logical first step in the evolution of the square-rigger from the single masted cog to the three masted ship, with the simple addition of a mizzen mast and sail. Certainly that would make sense. The square-rigged ketches remained in use for a long time, while the fore and aft rigged ketch evolved as a handier vessel, but same principle and surviving to this day in yachts.

    It’s also interesting that the Pursuit was mentioned, as I was one of the last to see her. She was acquired by the Sea Hawks (on Toronto’s Algonquin Island) in 1999, to replace an older tender. I was also with the Sea Hawks then, as Assistant Sea Scout Leader and helper to founder George Pearce. I made extensive use of the Pursuit for several years and took over as President after George passed away at age 84.

    What I did not know was that the cantankerous old diesel (another Flotilla story of mine) came from the shallop! Lots of stories there. I remember the old shallop at Waupoos Island in 1974. Also the launching of our “new shallop”, the Pursuit. I saw her for the last time in 2006, when she was sold and I moved up to Elliot Lake. Subsequent rumours I have heard have placed her in Cambridge or Stratford, Ontario as part of an outdoor art exhibit and also by the side of the highway near Barrie or Orillia, painted grey. Nowadays, I’m working on my first novel, loosely inspired by the brig experience. It’ll be a thought provoking actioner set on the Great Lakes, under sail. I’m also about to reprise my big slide show and presentation, “Sailing the Great Lakes” for the public up here. I will be showcasing and promoting the brig program.

    I also wrote about another ketch, the Griffon, which had sailed only 11 years after the original Nonsuch and was the first sailing vessel on the upper Great Lakes, in the Jan. 2009 issue of Flotilla. Yet another ketch is on my agenda for later this year: the Intrepid of 1804. Exactly 200 years before 9/11, an enraged mob in Tripoli (in the news these days) chopped down the flagpole at the American embassy and declared war against the United States. This led to the daring night raid by the Intrepid – manned by Americans to destroy the frigate USS Philadelphia, which had run aground and was captured by Tripolitan pirates.
    And to think I had gone to the 2006 TBI Pirates Ball dressed as a Moorish pirate! That was the same party at which Poco finally arrived home (I had also seen him being carved at the Boatshow when I was a kid). I am dying to write something about Poco. It’s just too good to pass up…

    Jurgen.

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