The Grand Banks are situated off Canada’s east coast and for centuries they proved to be one of the world’s richest fishing grounds. While European vessels had fished the banks before, it was in the 1800’s that Canada and the US developed a new breed of fishing schooner especially designed to exploit the riches of the banks. Fast, capable schooners would sail out from eastern ports to deploy their crews in small dories to fish with hand lines.
With full holds of cod the schooners would race back to port. Unfortunately the Grand Banks lay directly in line with the steamships travelling from Europe to North America. Cross Atlantic ships would often have to pass through fleets of schooners and dories busy at their work. Sometimes in dense fog vessels would be in collision and lives would be lost.
In this painting a typical Grand Banks schooner meets a steamer as she romps along under plain sail in a fine wind showing off the sheer power of these wonderful vessels.