Emma C Berry
1866 Noank Well Smack
This site collects historical notes and
sources for building models of the EMMA C BERRY.
10/2004: This site is under revision; please forgive lost links, they are being fixed...
Please email me to correct or add information, or to comment on your own projects.
Home | History | Plans | Kits | Bibliography | Links | Builders | Comments | Gallery | Paint chart | Tips | Hot List
The Emma C Berry is a 19th century Noank Well Smack, a fishing sloop adapted to the mackeral fisheries of the New England coast. Incorporating a live well, this type was well suited to transporting fish to distant markets. Currently at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic CT, the Emma C Berry is the last surviving example of the many hundreds of her type. She was built in 1866 as a gaff sloop, converted to a schooner in 1889 (for ease in handling by smaller crews) and served for the next 40 years in the coastal fisheries and freight trades from Connecticut up into Maine. By 1930 her days of working sail were over, she had been abandoned and resurrected, and was relegated to working under power and pumps in northern Maine. Rediscovering a memory of his childhood, she was bought by F. Slade Dale who moved her to Barnegat NJ, where she was restored at Beatons Boatyard. Dale sailed her for another 35 years as yacht and freighter, brought her back to Noank for her 100th anniversary in 1966, and in 1969 donated her to Mystic Seaport Museum. The Museum restored her a second time, returning her to the original sloop rig and wet well to re-create an example of a Noank Well Smack. She remains afloat as a museum exhibit.
See the Paint & features chart for a history of color and features.
Lines and profile plan, 1930, F. Slade Dale. Taken at the first restoration, this plan shows the masts and lower spars of the Schooner rig, and is the only known drawing of the schooner configuration. Published in Yachting magazine (June 1933), a tracing of this plan is available from Mystic Seaport Ships Plans
Lines plan, Sail plan, Deck plan, 1970, R.C. Allyn. Taken off in 1969 for the Mystic restoration, these plans were published (in reduced form) in the book Restoration of the Smack Emma C Berry, and are available as a set of 3 sheets, from Mystic Seaport Ships Plans. These plans are now slightly out of date, as some changes have since been made to deck structures and the wheelhouse was replaced by a tiller.
Sterling Models produced a kit in the '70s detailing the schooner configuration.. While the plan sheets incorporate some interesting detail photographs of the ship, the lines are famously inaccurate.
The plans in the Model Shipways model kit are up-to-date and impressively complete, representing the boat as it is now exhibited at Mystic Seaport. This plan also incorporates proposed rig changes determined by the Museum through sailing trials and further research.
Additional plans can be found at Mystic Seaport Ships Plans division, including framing diagrams, construction drawings, planking schedule, detail drawings, hardware and fittings, and current and proposed sail and spar plans. These all pertain to the restored sloop. No additional drawings of the schooner are known.
See my Modeling Tips for suggestions on building models and kits.
See the Bibliography for articles and sources on model building.
Sterling Models Emma C Berry (B21M) is a 3/4" scale R/C Schooner. This Plank-on-Bulkhead kit was produced in the 1970's (now out of production). About 48" long, it's a nice size for sailing, but contains some inaccuracies in hull shape.
A smaller solid hull Sterling kit was also manufactured. [someone send me details?]
Model Shipways Emma C Berry, designed by Ben Lankford, is a 3/8" scale Plank-on-Frame kit of the current sloop rig (as currently displayed at Mystic Seaport) With the same framing configuration as the boat and highly accurate plans, this is the truest representation available. This kit is now available through Model Expo or the Mystic Seaport Museum Store.
Restoration of the Smack Emma C Berry at Mystic Seaport, 1969-1971, Willets Ansel, The Marine Historical Association, Mystic Seaport. 1973 (out of print). A good description of the restoration by someone involved in the project, includes scantlings, specifications and plans. (br)
Mystic Seaport Museum Watercraft Collection, Maynard Bray. A brief chapter on the Berry, including a rare photograph of her as a schooner.. (br)
"Old Emma Comes To Barnegat", F.Slade Dale, Yachting magazine, June 1933 (part I) and July 1933 (part II). Description of finding and buying the Berry in 1930, and the journey from Maine back to home in Barnegat Bay NJ. (msm)
"The Emma C Berry, June 5 1866..", Arthur Krause, The Log of Mystic Seaport, Sept 1969. A description of the "voyage home", returning to Mystic for restoration in 1969. (msm)
The Van Horn Collection, photographs of the Emma C Berry during the Slade Dale years. Not publicly accessible. (msm)
"F. Slade Dale, The Life of His Choice", Sam Merrick. Ocean County Historic Society, 1998. ISBN 0-941 965-11-2. Contains among other things articles by FSD, an account of Emmas life by Arthur Krause, a resume by Nancy d´Estang, etc. Available at Jolly Tar Gift Shop, 56 Bridge Avenue Bay Head, NJ 08742 (732)-892-0223. (kcj).
Sailing Ships, Great Ships Before The Age of Steam, C.B.Colby, page 44, 3 b/w photos of the Berry, schooner rigged. There is a starboard view,bow view and a port view of her, with crew aboard. (jm)
Extensive materials pertaining to the history of the type, the vessel, and the restoration are archived at Mystic Seaport Museum.
"Building Sterling Models' Emma C Berry", Marypat Kiff, (Model Ship Builder, Issue #1 ( Sept-Oct. 1979), repeated Model Ship Builder, Issue #18 ( Jul-Aug 1982) Excellent article on building this model.
"Voyage of the Emma C Berry", Harold Sriver, Scale Ship Modeler, (date?) Brief article on building a Sterling kit.
"Schooner Emma C Berry in R/C", Frank E Dully Jr, Model Ship Builder, July 1994. Excellent series on building the Sterling kit, noting some problems and changes, and good notes on updating the R/C installation to modern equipment.
"Schooner Emma C Berry (part 2)", Frank E Dully Jr, Model Ship Builder, July 1994
Flying Models magazine, March 1987, article on the Sterling radio controlled Emma C Berry (Hobbypoxy Winners Circle Award) built with people figures on deck as well as photos of the completed kit interior and exterior with electronics, servos, gears, etc installed.
Seaways 'Ships In Scale'magazine http://www.seaways.com/
To subscribe to the SIS email list, send a blank email to
To subscribe to the Ship Modelers Forum (SMF) email list, send a blank email to
The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) http://www.naut-res-guild.org/
Back to Top
See my Hot List,selections from my Favorites. Mystic Seaport Museum: Visit their Home page, browse their collection of plans at Ships Plans, or go directly to the Emma C Berry plans under round bottom work boats. Beaton Boatbuilders "Emma C. Berry" site. This is the NJ yard that restored her in the early 1930's. Their main site is at Beatons Boatyard. Visit the Vintage Sterling Models Collectors Resource Site Some nice half hulls at http://www.winwoods.com/halfhull.htm include the Berry and other Mystic vessels among those for sale. Seaways' Ships In Scale magazine (SIS), and the "Seaways-Shipmodeling-List" on YahooGroups.com The "Shipmodelers-Forum" (SMF) on YahooGroups.com Nautical Research Guild
Back to Top
Builders (Berrys Being Built)
Model photo gallery (under construction)
Steve Brown's Boats Sean Cieseilka's model page David Hill Builder's Logbook
me mail telling me what you
think about this page and how I might improve it. All efforts
have been made to attribute information where possible. If you
recognize a boat or can correct or add information,
please email me.
David Hill, Franklin MA
Background: Body plan, F.Slade Dale, 1930, as published in Yachting Magazine, June/July 1933. (The dotted line in this view represents the "shape of a typical modern yacht" in comparison to the Berry's shape.
My thanks to our sponsor for making this space available. Thanks to Christer Jälltoft for inspiration and companionship in adventure (despite being across the big pond), Bill Richards for his knowledge and support, and George Carney for plans and digging a Sterling Berry out of his basement and more. Thanks to Beatons and Mystic and Shipyard Docs and Ships Plans, and to the SIS, SMF & MSW list members who are so full of information. And lastly, thanks to the Berry and her builders in Noank more than a century ago.
Credits: The Sloop drawing was shamelessly pinched from the Mystic Seaport website. The Schooner drawing is by Willets Ansel, from "Restoration of the Smack Emma C Berry..." The photograph of the Model Shipways kit is from their website.
Back to Top