Original North Star


The first North Star in the western Canadian Arctic was a schooner used for trapping. Upon her demise her name was saved out of respect until another vessel worthy of it came along. When Fred Carpenter and Jim Wolki made the decision to build the largest and strongest trapping schooner the name of North Star was the only one considered, a testament to the respect that their peers had for them and also for the new ship, North Star of Herschel Island.

The following passage is from the Canadian History Museum’s website.


Martin Andreasen, owner of the schooner North Star, looked upon exploration as a means of opening up new territories to trade. In July 1906 he and Joe Bernard (owner of the schooner Teddy Bear) listened to Norwegian explorer Amundsen in Nome tell of possibilities of trade with the Coppermine River Inuit. Bernard went to Coppermine River district and Andreasen “sailed to another part of the Arctic coast and is reputed to have made a profit of $150,000 from the furs he brought out” (Madsen 1957).

In the spring of 1913, when Stefansson was considering the ships available in the Arctic for possible use or purchase by the CAE, he wrote the following aboutNorth Star:


North Star hauled up on ice Bernard Harbour, Nunavut 1915North Star sailing from Cape Barrow, Nunavut, to Banks Island.

“The schooner North Star Captain and half owner Matthew Anderson, (together with the same Ira Rank, mentioned above). The North Star is of the same capacity as the Teddy Bear, but has a centre-board instead of a keel, and therefore draws only four feet of water as against six feet for the Teddy Bear… The North Star, according to the intention of her captain last summer, was going to winter in Liverpool Bay, just west of Cape Bathurst….
Of the five ships wintering in the Arctic, two are from our point of view desirable – the Teddy Bear and the North Star. Each of these is for sale at $4,000 or possibly even less… I believe Mr. Rank has not the power to sell the North Starwithout the consent of Captain Anderson”
(Letter, Stefansson to Desbarats, May 18 1913).

A few months later, in the winter of 1913-1914, Stefansson bought the North Star at Demarkation Point, Alaska, from Captain Andreasen to replace the lostKarluk. The government had to pay $13,000 for the gasoline-powered schooner, a gasoline launch, and all the equipment on board, including a thousand dollars worth of tools.

The North Star was a 10-ton, gasoline-motor powered, 40-foot fishing schooner, drawing less than 5 feet of water. It had been caught by ice conditions as it sought to reach Nome from Herschel Island in August 1913, and wintered in Clarence Lagoon, some 10 miles east of ‘Duffy’ O’Connor’s place at Demarkation Point (Jenness 1991).