Resting upright in 100 feet of water and marked with a sanctuary mooring, the E. B. Allen makes for an excellent recreational dive. In this bow shot can be seen the folding catheads (used to secure the anchor once it was raised). Every inch of hull length and width meant more bushels of grain and more profit for owners. Innovative features like folding catheads and bowsprits ensured that purpose-built “canal sized” schooners did not waste valuable space while transiting the locks between Lakes Erie and Ontario.
Used to raise and lower the Allen’s anchor, the windlass is still intact and appears ready for service.
Amidships on the port side is dramatic evidence of the Allen’s 1871 collision with the sailing vessel Newsboy.
At the stern, divers can easily spot the vessel’s rudder post and glimpse construction features exposed by the missing cabin.
With much of its deck planking missing, the wreck of the E. B. Allen allows for easy penetration below decks and a view of the massive centerboard trunk.
Just forward of the mast is the winch used to raise and lower the vessel’s huge centerboard. Due to their flat bottoms, the wind that drove Great Lakes schooners forward also pushed them sideways, making it difficult to keep on course. Housed in a watertight box, called the centerboard trunk, the centerboard hung deep into the water and slowed the sideways movement.
The Allen’s foredeck area is an interesting mix of great preservation and accessibility. Here, divers can see deck beams, deck planking, hatches, lodging knees (horizontal braces), intact portions of bulwarks, folding “catheads” and the ship’s windlass.