Years ago, while visiting the National Maritime Museum in SanFrancisco a to research MARTHA’s history I looked into B.B.(Bowdoin Bradlee)Crowninshield and J.R. (John Ryder)Hanify and their yachting history.
B.B.Crowninshield was un accomplished sailor from a prominent family in which sailing, seafaring, sea commerce and the navy played prominent rolls in their history.
Within the Museum there is a Loyd Register of House Flags, there was found the B.B. Crowninshield House flag which was the pennant B.B would fly at the mast head when he was on his boat. There was also a J.R. Hanify House flag.
In fact most yachtsmen and yachtswomen had identifying flags. Keep in mind, this is a time before radio, back when every proper commercial vessel and yacht communicated by signal flag.
Sometime it’s difficult to understand a past tradition, especially when we have no frame of reference as to how/why it became a tradition, especially today with GPS , smart phones, AIS, Tweet, Chat, Facebook, Radar and a whole box full of electronic acronyms.
In the past, vessels not only signaled each other with flags, they could signal shore stations as well. the National Ensign, ” the U.S.Flag” flown from the Ensign Staff or Gaff Peak, would tell others, especially officials, that this vessel is a U.S flagged vessel, or French or what have you.
This flag displays a fouled anchor and thirteen stars in the canton and was created by an act of Congress in 1848 to be used by documented U.S. yachts. It was to relieve U.S.Yachts from clearing costumes every time they sailed from port to port in U.S waters.
Over the years we have wanted to have a ships pennant that would become a visual icon that is associated with MARTHA while acknowledging B.B. and his contributions to Naval Architecture and design. In collaboration with local artist/ graphic designer Sara Felder , we have come up with the new MARTHA pennant, A “Crown-in-Shield”, the mid spire on the crown is a fluer de lis.
The Fluer de Lis, is a hat tip to J.R. Hanify as that was his house flag.
It was difficult to produce an image that would broadcast well on a battle flag, yet the image would convert well to a hat or shirt emblem.
So here it is, as seen here, to be used on Shirts and Hats. For a Ship’s pennant
and on the “Battle Flag” with MARTHA name removed. A battle flag is flown pre race, it’s a colorful way to display the vessels iconic identity.
In our view MARTHA is a tribute to B.B.Crowninshield’s genius, and again thanks to Sara Felder who captured the essence of the B.B.Crowninshield/MARTHA/J.R.Hanify connection.