Lunenburg’s rich boatbuilding heritage was given new life Tuesday morning as a traditional wooden schooner was launched on the waterfront.

Hundreds of people were on hand to see the launch of the first ship of its kind to be built in Lunenburg in more than three decades.

“It’s great you know, with the decline of the fisheries, we still have a marine industry we can maybe rely on,” says area resident Bruce Shephard. “It brings a lot of tourists here and they’re loving it, as we are too.”

The 48-foot vessel is one of two twin schooners build at the Dory Shop Boatyard over the past two-and-a-half years. The large, wooden schooner was constructed by Dawson Moreland and Associates under the direction of Capt. Daniel Moreland.

“Time will tell. We haven’t sailed it yet, but we’re pretty confident we’ve got what we wanted, which is a very strong, very durable vessel on the traditional lines from here,” says Moreland.

Many hands helped to make the project possible, including those of some tall ship trainees.

“It’s also my home, so it’s great to see the working waterfront continue,” says Susie Ordway.

The schooner was custom built for actor Billy Campbell who has a longtime love for the sea. The ship was christened “Martha Seabury” after another great love of Campbell’s – his grandmother.

“I spent a lot of my happiest times in Canada in Muskoka with my grandmother,” says Campbell, who has starred in several films and television series. “She loved it up there. One of her favourite things to do was sit on the dock with a glass of scotch and a cigarette and fish.”

The Martha Seabury will set sail on its maiden voyage later this month and head to the Newport International Boat Show in the hopes of finding an owner for its sister.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Jill Matthews