Roanoke (ship)

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Name: Roanoke
Builder: Messrs. A. Sewall and Co
Launched: 1892
Fate: burned 10 August 1905
General characteristics
Length: 311'
Beam: 49'

Roanoke was one of the largest wooden ships ever constructed.

Roanoke was a four-masted barque built by Messrs. A. Sewall and Co. in 1892 on the Kennebec River at Bath, Maine, USA. With the exception of 'Great Republic, she was the largest wooden ship ever built in an American yard. Her registered tonnage was 3,347, but on a draft of 27 feet she could stow away 2,000 additional tons. Her lower yards were 95-feet long, and her foremast truck was 180 feet from the deck. The keel was in two tiers of 16-inch white oak, her garboards were 8-inches thick, and her ceiling in the lower hold was 14 inches. Into her construction went 1,250,000 board feet of yellow pine, 14,000 cubic feet of oak, 98,000 treenails, and 550 hackmatck knees (Rowe, 1948).

It left New York on its final voyage in June 1904, and was involved in a serious collision with the British steamship Llangibby, off the coast of South America in August 1904, requiring repairs for three months in Rio de Janeiro.[1] After delivering cargo to Australia, Roanoke was loading chrome ore near Noumea when it caught fire and burned on the night of 10 August 1905. Her length was 311 feet, her beam 49 feet and her depth 29 feet.[2]

There were other ships named Roanoke, including a steamship which was wrecked near San Diego on about September 10, 1910.[3]



  • Rowe, William Hutchinson. 1948. 'The Maritime History of Maine: Three Centuries of Shipbu9ilding & Seafaring'. W.W. Norton. New York. 333 pp.