Pioneer (schooner)

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Coordinates: 40°42′17″N 74°00′09″W / 40.7047°N 74.0025°W / 40.7047; -74.0025

Schooner Pioneer.jpg
Pioneer in New York Harbor
United StatesUnited States
OwnerSouth Street Seaport Museum
Completed1885, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Refit1895 (sloop->schooner); around 1930 (outfitted w/engine & downrigged); 1966 (schooner rig restored, hull rebuilt)
StatusSea-going museum ship
General characteristics
Tonnage43 gross tons
Length102 ft (31 m) overall
Beam21 ft 6 in (6.55 m)
Height76.6 ft (23.3 m)
Draft12 ft (3.7 m) w/centerboard, 4.5 ft (1.4 m) w/o
PropulsionSail; auxiliary diesel engine
Sail planTwo-masted schooner, 2,737 square feet (254.3 m2) total sail area
NotesOriginally iron-hulled; currently steel-hulled with iron frames

Pioneer is a restored nineteenth century schooner sailing out of South Street Seaport in New York, New York.


Pioneer was built in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania in 1885 as a cargo sloop. She was the first of only two American cargo sloops ever built with a wrought iron hull. After ten years of service in the Delaware Bay, she was re-rigged as a schooner for easier handling.

In 1930, the Pioneer was sold to a buyer in Massachusetts. By this point, she had been fitted with an engine and no longer being used as a sailing vessel. She was sold again in 1966 to Russell Grinnell, Jr. of Gloucester for use in his dock building business. Grinnell restored Pioneer's schooner rig and rebuilt her hull in steel plating, leaving the iron frame intact. Upon his death in 1970, he donated Pioneer to the South Street Seaport Museum.

Popular culture[edit]

Pioneer appears in Episode 1 of Season 1 of the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire," in a scene set on the water showing illegal liquor being transported by boat.[1]

Present day[edit]

Schooner Pioneer sailing near the Statue of Liberty in 2010.

The Pioneer sails seasonally from South Street Seaport in Manhattan, offering daily sails to the public as well as charter sails and educational programs for children.

The crew is a combination of professionals and volunteers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Boardwalk Empire" prop master had to go treasure hunting". Press of Atlantic City. 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-03.