Schooner Isabella launched in Essex

It may not have been quite so painful, but those involved were pretty tense. Nearly 3,000 people stood at attention, listening for the telltale creaks and whines that meant a nearly 40,000-pound wooden schooner vessel had reached its tipping point.

Sunday was the official launching of Isabella, a privately commissioned boat built in the style of an early 1800s fishing vessel.

It was built in the Burnham Shipyard, and sent to sea using the traditional side launch method. A wooden skeleton, called a bilge, was built around the vessel. The craft was slowly — very slowly — jacked toward greased planks that lined one side of the bilge.