1851Gloucester’s mackerel fleet was hit by a sudden storm on the Bay at Prince Edward Island.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

On October 15, 1851, a storm suddenly arose off Prince Edward Island that sank two out of 112 Gloucester schooners that were fishing for mackerel — almost three quarters of Gloucester’s fleet — and left another 36 of these vessels stranded on the shore. Of the 400 fishermen killed by the storm, 25 were Gloucestermen who were buried locally or never recovered. Many of the ships grounded on the coast were sold because they were beyond salvage or could not be re-floated. Despite the storm’s tragic impact, which came to be called “the Yankee Gale,” fifty new faster and larger craft were added to Gloucester’s fleet the following year using the $3000 average insurance payment that owners recouped from their lost schooners.

Morris, John N. Alone at Sea: Gloucester in the Age of the Dorymen, 1623 - 1939. Commonwealth Editions, 2010.
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