Helen MacLeod 11
Boat into Bayfield Harbour on a sunny summer day, and its charm immediately takes you in. Sail masts sway in the breeze. Sand-covered toes dance in the water. Shops bustle and village streets come to life. It’s a far cry from the bare shoreline boaters approached in 1882, the year a boat shipwrecked in Bayfield’s harbour.
Godrich via Lake Huron. As evening fell, the Helmsman (crew member who directs the ship) kept an eye for land. Approaching lights in the distance, he anticipated the entrance to Goderich Harbour – however, the lights were actually coming from windows at “Bakers Hall.” With a hard spin of the wheel, the Helmsman ran the ship aground just south of the mouth of the Bayfield River. The beached wreck of Malta was used as a swimmers’ change house by residents and cottagers until it became unsound.
Malta’s ruins occasionally wash up on the beach, only to be swept out again with waves from a storm. Some retrieved spikes and hardware are displayed at the Bayfield Historical Society & Archives (20 Main Street North). The salvaged keel of Malta is on display in Pioneer Park, Bayfield, close to where she went aground in 1882.
Represented here is The Helen MacLeod II, a Lake Huron schooner, was built in 1925 by Louie MacLeod (1888-1961) in Bayfield. It had an overall length of 36 feet, a beam of 10 feet, and a 3-foot-6-inch draft.