Did you know?

The Great Star Fleet

At the turn of the 20th Century, the Alaska Packers Association assembled the largest fleet of privately owned sailing ships in the world. It was an era in which the shipping industry was mothballing its sailing ships in favor of faster steam powered vessels.

The APA didn’t need speed; it needed low cost cargo haulers to ferry men and supplies north to Alaska to can salmon each spring, and to deliver the non-perishable cargo south each fall in hopes it would sell at a profit. Ultimately, the APA acquired 19 iron and steel full rigged ships and called their armada The Great Star Fleet.

Their operations extended the age of working sail on the Pacific Coast by several decades. View the trailer to see the Star Ships under sail in this excerpt from John Sabella’s 2001 documentary Sockeye and the Age of Sail.

Purchase Sockeye and the Age of Sail: The Story of the Alaska Packers Association, a film by John Sabella.

Categories: USA

3 replies »

  1. No, I didn't. We just parted with an old wooden ex-West Coast troller (built on the North Coast) and have collected a good library….most of it mid-century….this will be a good addition. Many years ago a former girlfriend (food tech) worked for Canadian Fish at the foot of Gore. There was a lot of very early history there available for viewing, alas I didn't pay enough attention at the time.


  2. I went to order this video as a Christmas gift to a brother who is keen on sail and fisheries and backed off when I saw they wanted to charge me $47.50 to ship something from Port Townsend to BC. I was actually aboard the Balclutha back in the '50s with said brother (and the rest of the brood) for a tour. I remember thinking at the time that it was all right to take a tour through it, but that I wouldn't have wanted to be aboard for any extended period of time. A splendid enterprise, but fraught with dangers and discomfort, I guess. In any case, I'm working on a little more circuitous delivery scheme that won't cost more than twice the price of the article in question. Thanks for the pointer and the trailer.


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