While the 90-foot long Thomas E. Lannon schooner boasts many impressive characteristics—including a 64.5-foot deck, a spacious 18-foot beam, and a resemblance to a 1903 sword-fishing schooner—none of them rivals the story of how the vessel got its name.
Before the ship was built in 1997, owner Tom Ellis was visiting his relatives in Newfoundland when he overhead them reciting stories of his grandfather Thomas Lannon, who had fished the Gloucester coastline for more than 40 years. On one particularly stormy day in 1908, Lannon and five other men set out into the waters off Nauset aboard two dories and rescued the crew of the capsized schooner Eric amid 70-mph winds. Each of the rescuers received the eternal admiration of the rescued men and a medal from the Massachusetts Humane Society, which Ellis possesses to this day.
More than a century later, the crew of the Thomas E. Lannon keeps its namesake's love of the sea alive by chartering an array of sailing voyages that have attracted more than 100,000 passengers to date. After helping raise the sails at the voyage’s start, passengers capture vivid views of Gloucester harbor's lighthouses, castles, beaches, and waterfront homes sold by Poseidon himself.