William L. Douglas after launching
The Delaware Sun started life as the six masted schooner William L. Douglas. She was built by Fore River Ship & Engine Building Co., Quincy, MA and delivered on Nov. 11, 1903. She was built for John G. Crowley of Coastwise Transportation Co., Boston, MA because of the success of his previous ship (Thomas W. Lawson) built at Fore River.
Unique in being the largest six masted steel collier ever built and the lower parts of her masts were hollow steel cylinders. Her original design was to carry coal along the east coast.
She was purchased in 1912 and converted to a tanker. Her career partly consisted of being towed by a steam tanker and sometimes sailing on her own. For example, from England to Sabine Pass, Texas a good run under sail was 45 days. But just like the Lawson she was not able to compete with the steam powered tankers. It has even been noted that she was de-masted towards the end of her career.
In 1917 she capsized off the jetties at Sabine Pass, TX and all efforts to salvage her failed and she finally disappeared in the sandy bottom.
Copyright ©2004 by Minor W. Kates, Jr. - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED