Pirates will always sail aboard schooners since there is plenty of cargo space to stash tiny hats for their parrots, and painting a skull and crossbones on two masts rather than one is twice as intimidating. Set sail for reveling rather than pillaging with today's Groupon. For $20, you get a two-hour sail (up to a $37.50 value for adults) aboard the Thomas E. Lannon, a schooner that makes its home on Rogers Street in Gloucester.
So what is a schooner? A schooner looks like one of those miniature ships that are trapped in bottles; they have two or more masts and a ton of sails. The Thomas E. Lannon is a 90-foot vessel, crafted with incredible intricacy and manned and owned by a nice-looking family. The Lannon can carry up to 49 people on each of its four daily sails around Gloucester, the oldest working seaport in America. On your two-hour trip, you can relax and enjoy the view, or you and your guests can help raise the sails. Take a virtual tour of the ship to see what it's like.
The Lannon sails until mid-October this year (when this Groupon expires), so don't miss out; spending an afternoon out on the water in a one-of-a-kind ship impresses the whole family and makes seagulls jealous.
There isn't a lot out there about the Thomas E. Lannon, but what is there is glowing. Seven Reviewers on Yahoo!Travel give the Lannon experience five stars:
- I loved everything about my sail on this beautiful schooner. I would recommend it highly to anyone who loves the sea. The owner and his sons were very professional and friendly and gracious. – Rick Pawlenty
- Can't remember having a better day. It was filled with wonder and laughter and the wind and full sails were breathtaking. Took the tiller and didn't hit anything, a first for me. – A Yahoo! Contributor
- Absoultely [sic] a great schooner, went sailing las [sic] June and will be back this year to join in on the Schooner races. Tom and Kay were fantastic, and we really had a wonderful time. Thumbs up to the Lannon and her crew! – Christine
Thomas E. Lannon
While the Thomas E. Lannon schooner boasts many impressive characteristics—including a 65-foot deck 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 overheard 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, and beaches.