Dancing Feather

Boston Pilot Boat of 1853

History of the Dancing Feather

Back in the 1850's; in the golden days of sail when our great white winged clipper ships crowded the trade routes of the seven seas; the little pilot boat Dancing Feather could be seen sailing about off the entrance of Boston Harbor. Out there, possibly many miles off shore, she was ready to greet the incoming merchant ships and put one of her pilots aboard.

In those days; and even today; the skippers of large, ocean going vessels called upon the knowledge of local pilots to direct their great ships in and out of port. Pilot boats, each carrying several pilots, cruised about outside of the principal ports.

The piloting business was highly competitive so a very special type of boat was developed for the service. She had to be able to cruise on station in all kinds of weather in every season and yet be fast; for there was usually a race to be the first alongside when a sail was sighted. American pilot boats developed to such a high degree that they became famous the world over for their seaworthiness and speed.

One of the most famous of these was the Boston pilot boat Dancing Feather, designed and built by D. J. Lawlor in 1853 at East Boston. She had a beautiful clipper bow, graceful lines, and was known as a fine sea boat with a reputation for getting there first. Her round stern seems to have been an importation from New York and this style enjoyed only a short popularity in Boston. During his career D. J. Lawlor designed and built several noted pilot boats including the Florence, Phantom, Lilie, and Hesper.

Our Model

The model of the Dancing Feather has been built with great care from research and scaled down plans based on the original lines. Her hull is dark green with black topsides and dark brown main rail. The lower masts and spars are stained and the topmasts are painted white. The model is mounted on a mahogany finished base with brass nameplates on each side.

Model Measurements

Length overall



15 3/4"

How to Order

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