Sabino (steamer)

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Sabino in 2005.jpg
Career (USA)
Namesake: Abenaki sagamore Sabenoa
Owner: Mystic Seaport
Builder: W. Irving Adams
Launched: 1908
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics
Length: 57 ft (17 m)
Beam: 21 ft 11 in (6.68 m)
Draft: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Installed power: Paine compound two-cylinder steam engine
Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Crew: 3
Sabino (steamer)
Sabino (steamer) is located in Connecticut
Sabino (steamer)
Location Mystic, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°21′39″N 71°58′2″W / 41.36083°N 71.96722°W / 41.36083; -71.96722Coordinates: 41°21′39″N 71°58′2″W / 41.36083°N 71.96722°W / 41.36083; -71.96722
Built 1908
Architect H. Irving Adams
Governing body Private
Part of Mystic Bridge Historic District (#79002671)
NRHP Reference # 92001887
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 5 October 1992[1]
Designated NHL 5 October 1992[2]
Designated CP August 31, 1979
Damariscotta Steamboat Company fleet in 1906

Sabino (pronounced Sah Bye No) is a small, wooden, coal-fired steamboat built in 1908 and currently located at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. It is one of only two surviving members of the American "mosquito fleet." The vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1992.[2][3]


Sabino was built in the W. Irving Adams shipyard in East Boothbay, Maine. Originally known as Tourist, the 57-foot vessel was christened on 7 May 1908. Tourist began her career as a ferry for the Damariscotta Steamboat Company on the Damariscotta River in Maine.[3] Tourist sank in 1918 due to an accident, but was salvaged.[4] On 8 October 1921, Tourist was sold to the Popham Beach Steamboat Company on the Kennebec River. The new owners changed the vessel's name to Sabino in honor of Abenaki sagamore Sabenoa.

On 23 July 1927, Sabino was purchased by the Cape Shore Ferry Company in Portland, Maine. Sabino ferried passengers from Portland to the many islands of Casco Bay. Sponsons were added in 1928 to help stabilize Sabino in the open water of Casco Bay. In 1935, Sabino was again sold, this time to the Casco Bay Lines. After a few years, Sabino began to show her age and was put into the company's reserve fleet. Sabino was returned to regular ferry service in 1956, when another ferry ran aground. However, Sabino‍ '​s usefulness to the Casco Bay Lines was short-lived and in 1958, she was sold to Red Slavit. Shortly thereafter, Slavit sold her to Philip and Irene Corbin of Salisbury, Massachusetts.

Corbin's family then spent a great amount of time repairing the vessel and bringing her up to Coast Guard regulations for a passenger vessel. In 1971, Philip Corbin's son, Jim, began operating Sabino on the Merrimack River running between Salisbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts. In 1975, Sabino was leased for one year to the Mystic Seaport Museum to determine if a steamboat would appeal to the museum's patrons. Sabino became a popular attraction, prompting the museum to purchase the vessel. Under the museum's care, Sabino received regular maintenance and was brought back to her former glory. In 1992, Sabino received designation as a National Historic Landmark. Sabino is noted as one of the few National Historic Landmarks that a person can ride.[5]


Sabino is operated by a captain, one or two engineers, and two deck hands. The captain does not directly control the direction or speed of the vessel. Instead, the captain relays his commands through a sequence of bells and gongs to the engineer, who controls the engine. Sabino has an average speed of 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) and will consume 60 tons of coal annually. It is estimated that Sabino carries approximately 33,000 passengers per year.[6]

Current status[edit]

Sabino currently operates regularly at the Mystic Seaport giving patrons tours of the Mystic River.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Sabino (steamer)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b Dean, Nicolas (September 1991). "Marine Heritage of the United States NHL Theme Study—Large Vessels: Sabino / Excursion Steamer Sabino" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-12.  and
    "Accompanying 5 photos, from c.1910 to 1990" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  4. ^ "Mystic Seaport - Sabino". Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  5. ^ King III, George (2008). "Sabino, Steams To 100". Mystic Seaport Magazine (Summer): 18–22. 
  6. ^ King III, George (2008). "A Day In The Life Of Sabino". Mystic Seaport Magazine (Summer): 23. 
  7. ^ "Sabino". Mystic Seaport. [dead link]

External links[edit]