The Female Shipwright

TitleThe Female Shipwright
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsLacy, Mary
Number of Pages144
PublisherNational Maritime Museum

Originally published in 1773, this fascinating autobiography recounts one woman’s life on the high seas—all while disguised as a man. After running away from home at 15, the adventurous Lacy found employment as “William Chandler,” first as a servant aboard the Sandwich, a 90-gun ship, and eventually as a shipwright with the Royal Navy. Such was the strength of her reputation as a strong, reliable worker who was popular with local ladies—her colleagues were in disbelief when she was exposed as a woman. When Lacy turned in her sea legs due to chronic health problems, she entered her real name on pensioner forms and was, surprisingly, acknowledged by the British Admiralty as the first female shipwright.

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