A Ship called Friendship

Moored proudly in Salem Harbor is the majestic reconstruction of the tall ship Friendship of Salem. The original Friendship was built in 1796 for merchants Jerathmiel Peirce and Aaron Waite by the same shipwright that built the Essex which gained fame in the War of 1812.

The Friendship is a 342 ton, 3 masted , square-rigged East Indiaman  that made  15 voyages during her career to Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean, and Russia in her search for  exotic spices, sugar and coffee. Her hold filled with cargo, she would return after a 2 year mission in triumph.

Her career ended when she was taken as a prize of war by the British  in September of 1812.

The reconstruction is based on a model of the original Friendship that resides in the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) along with paintings and the ships logs.

The 171 ft. vessel took 2 years to construct in the ship yards in Albany, NY. arriving at the National Park’s Maritime National Historic Site in September 1998.  She is the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built in New England in more than a century.

The new Friendship is part of the National Park Service’s larger exhibit area at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. She is a fully operational sailing vessel but stays close to home so that everyone can come aboard.

The ship is operated by a volunteer crew under supervision of the National Park Service. Friendship sails as an ambassador ship for the Essex National Heritage Area.

She is a beautiful work of art as she sits serenely a rest but it is hard to imagine what everyday life must have been like for the sailors that crewed these merchantmen.

Name: Friendship of Salem
Owner: National Park Service
Builder: Scarano Brothers Shipyard
Launched: November 1996
Acquired: September 1, 1998
Homeport: Salem, MA
Status: in service
Badge: Woman in classical dress offering a bouqet of flowers
General characteristics
Class and type: Full rigged ship
Length: 171 feet bowsprit to spanker boom
Beam: 30 feet
Height: 20 feet keel to deck at midship
Decks: main deck, ‘tween deck, and holds
Installed power: onboard generators
Propulsion: 21 sails, twin diesel engines
Speed: 7.2 maximum / 5.8 average knots
Boats and landing
craft carried:
1 jolly boat
Complement: 25 crew, up to 45 persons
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