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.