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French Van Gilder
Description: tern schooner, wood, 3-masted.
Date Sunk: March 29, 1885.
From Somerset, Massachusetts, with a load of paving stones bound for Philadelphia, the tern schooner French Van Gilder struck on Tuckernuck Shoal on the evening of March 29, 1885 and bilged. Its crew was safely landed on Nantucket with no loss of life.
Dive Site Conditions
Depth in feet:
This should make for an interesting dive site, if the ever-shifting sand and gravel banks of the region have not completely buried it. Four wrecks reportedly occupy this site. The first of which is the French Van Gilder, whose cargo of paving stones established the back breaking reef that claimed the second wreck, Alice M. Lawrence, a six-masted schooner without cargo, in 1914. Three years later, the Canadian coal schooner Unique laid its bones atop the pile and the last was, appropriately, a small salvage vessel.
Constructed: in 1879 at Dennisville, New Jersey.
Construction details: Built of oak and pine; iron fastenings.
On April 22, 1885, the steam tug C. M. Winch Rich at Vinalhaven, reported that approximately 30,000 paving blocks had been recovered from the schooner, loaded onto the lighter Oak and discharged at Edgartown.