7 Interesting Facts About the Bluenose II

A ship that’s synonymous with Nova Scotia and recognized the world over, the original Bluenose schooner went from humble beginnings as a fishing vessel to a renowned racing champion. Though the ship ran aground in Haiti in 1946, its legacy endured in the hearts of Canadians, and plans to construct a replica came to life in 1963. Here are seven interesting facts about Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador—the Bluenose II.

It was Built by the Same Hands as the Bluenose

The Bluenose II was built in the same Lunenburg shipyard as its predecessor. Constructed at Smith and Rhuland Shipyard using designer William Roué’s original plans, many of the same craftspeople who helped build the original Bluenose used their skill and expertise to construct the Bluenose II. The original ship’s captain, Angus J. Walters, also consulted on the design and sailed on the new ship’s maiden voyage.

Bluenose II Built with the Same Hands That Built the Bluenose

It had Some Interesting Owners

The construction of the Bluenose II was financed by the Oland Brewery to promote its products, most notably Schooner beer. The Oland family also used the vessel as a private yacht before selling it to the Province of Nova Scotia in 1971.

Bluenose II Deckhand Tying Ropes

The Price tag was a lot Less Than You Might Think

How much did the Nova Scotia Government pay the Oland family for the iconic ship? A whopping $1, or ten Bluenose-emblazoned dimes.

Passengers on Bluenose II

The Ship’s Dining Table has Unique Origins

When the crew sit down for a meal on the Bluenose II, they gather around a table made from wood and stone collected from every province and territory, enhancing the ship’s role as Canada’s sailing ambassador.

Bluenose II Life Preserver

Elements of the Original Bluenose Remain

The towering masts of the original Bluenose still sail today, plus the rigging and sails, deck housings, and walnut and mahogany cabin trim. In the keel of the Bluenose II, 18 tonnes of lead ingots from the racing schooner act as ballast.


Masts from the Original Bluenose

The New Bluenose II Contains Global Influences

During the most recent rebuild, tropical woods were incorporated that naturally resist rot and decay. This latest version of the hull is constructed with angelique from Suriname in South America. Angelique and iroko from West Africa were also used for the ribs and deck beams. These woods were so hard that the shipyard went through $10,000 worth of band saw blades to cut them!

Bluenose II Photo

A Piece of the Ship Lives in a Guitar

In 2004, the Bluenose Preservation Trust donated a piece of the decking to the Six String Nation project—a guitar constructed using materials from every Canadian province and territory (not unlike the Bluenose II’s dining table). A symbol of national unity and Canadian exploration identity, it was an easy choice to contribute a piece of Nova Scotia’s iconic ship to this unique instrument that’s been played by dozens of notable Canadian musicians.

Bluenose II with Sails Up

Now that you know more about the Bluenose II, be sure to experience it for yourself when you visit Nova Scotia! Learn more about Lunenburg and the Bluenose II here.