Rhode Island’s 200-foot Official Sailing Education Vessel SSV Oliver Hazard Perry sailed for the first time yesterday (16 July) in Narragansett Bay after she left the Hinckley Boat Yard in Portsmouth, R.I., USA to begin a journey up the coast to join the Tall Ships Portland 2015 festival. It is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship built in America in over a century.
“This is a huge milestone,” said Jess Wurzbacher, Executive Director of the non-profit Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI), “over the past seven years all of her movements have been under the control of tugs. The wind was blowing 12-15 knots out of the north to make it a nice downwind run out of the Bay, so it was great to watch the sails harness some of that power – it is what we have all been waiting to see for years.”
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship built in America in over a century. She also is the USA’s largest privately-funded, actively sailing Tall Ship, one of only 75 Tall Ships in the world designated by Sail Training International as Class A.
On July 3rd SSV Oliver Hazard Perry was dockside at the Newport Shipyard for the “Homeport Rhode Island” gala. The annual fundraising event celebrated the unprecedented $16 million economic development project, which has supported hundreds of jobs in the Rhode Island marine industry. It raised $122,000 while also honoring the non-profit organization’s Board Chairman Bart Dunbar for his unfailing devotion to OHPRI’s Education-at-Sea mission.