The Schooner Roseway

More than a decade ago, Sea Bags was lucky enough to acquire a set of sails from the schooner Roseway. Were thrilled to add its final 100-year-old sails to our Heritage Collection.

Our hardworking Sail Acquisition Team, who reclaim sails otherwise bound for the landfill, uncovered a collection of world class sails right in our backyard. Rolled up and tucked under the eaves of a storage shed for years in Camden, Maine, we found the sails of the American icon, the schooner Roseway. Unfurled, these five rust colored heavy canvas sails, 5,600 square feet in total, once were the wings of the historic 137 two-masted schooner.

Schooner Roseway sailing at sea
The Schooner Roseway is a gaft rig with five sails

Built in 1925 by John James of Essex, Massachusetts, the schooner Roseway was designed for Harold Hathaway. The North Shore of Massachusetts was afflicted with “racing fever” when the Nova Scotians began challenging the Gloucester area fishermen to annual races. Hathaway commissioned his vessel just for that, built with utility for fishing and shaped for speed. Once completed, the schooner was dubbed Roseway, named after a female acquaintance of Hathaways "who always got her way."" Hathaway himself was a character of legend too, practicing law in Taunton and making waves in Bostons political circles. The legend of Roseway succeeded Hathaways, as he was disbarred in 1950 on tax evasion.

Though she sank just a year after being built, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Roseway was raised, repaired, and sailed on. Legend has it in 1934 Roseway set a record of 78 swordfish caught in one day.

In December of 1941, Roseway was purchased by the Boston Pilots Association and in early 1942, she was fitted with a .50 caliber machine gun and assigned to the First Naval District of New England. Navy men appreciated Roseways extreme comfort in motion as they would live on the vessel for long periods. During World War II, the Pilots and Roseway carefully guided ships through anti-submarine minefields and into harbor. In 1973, as the final sailing pilot boat in the United States, she was taken out of service.

Schooner Tote over the shoulder overlooking ocean

She returned to Maine and made her stripes as a member of the famous Windjammer Fleet. During her Windjammer tenure, she appeared in the 1977 remake of Victor Flemings film "Captains Courageous," - based on the 1897 Rudyard Kipling novel. Today the Roseway serves as home base for the renowned World Ocean School and is registered as a U.S National Historic Landmark. Once a working war boat, Roseway now lies in luxury, wintering in St. Croix and returning to New England every summer.

Due to the rich sailing history of the schooner Roseway, we knew something special had to be done with her beautiful tanbark sails and the idea of the Heritage Schooner Collection was born. After carefully accounting for all remaining material after our 2019 Heritage release, we were able to make a small additional collection of bags that feature original sail hardware, brass accents, and an embossed leather logo patch.

In addition to the Roseway sails, the Heritage Schooner Market Tote features a liner made from Egyptian cotton sails. First introduced in the early 19th century, lightweight Egyptian cotton sails were eventually replaced by synthetic materials. Extraordinarily rare, the Sea Bags team estimates that these Egyptian cotton sails are almost 100 years old.

View the Heritage Market Schooner Tote and our past Heritage releases here >


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