The steel schooner Ocean Star was the Ocean Navigator training vessel for many years. We had a host of wonderful captains commanding the schooner during that time. One of the best of those captains was a coolly competent licensed mariner named Virginia Wagner. When tied tied up or when ashore, Virginia had a great sense of fun. When the vessel was underway, however, woe to the crew member who wasn't on top of his or her job. Virginia was always in charge.
After leaving Ocean Star, Virginia went on to captain many other vessels, including the charter boats True North and Matau.
Lately, however, Virginia is facing a big challenge. This following is from an email from the Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, the tall ship under construction that will become, like Ocean Star, a partner with Ocean Navigator in teaching navigation offshore.
"Captain Virginia is fighting a courageous battle with Mesothelioma. With the help and support or her long-time partner and shipmate Jamie and her family and friends, she has pursued every possible treatment and continues her fight as we speak. One of the most interesting aspects of her life experience is her involvement as both a student and a captain in sea training on tall ships. She passionately believes that those experiences helped turn her life around and that it can do the same for other young people.
"This Saturday afternoon (Oct. 25) Virginia will be honored at an event aboard the tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry in Newport, RI. The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is currently under construction and, when complete, will be Rhode Island's official “Educational Sailing Vessel” and an official “Tall Ship” for the state. The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will be the largest civilian sailing school vessel in the US. You can find much more information about this amazing vessel and the programs aboard her at www.ohpri.org.
"To honor Virginia’s contributions to sea training for kids, tall ships and yachting in general, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the Captain Virginia Wagner Honorary Sail Training Scholarship Fund for the OHPRI (Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island). This scholarship fund will be used to help financially disadvantaged youths attend the various sea school programs offered by the OHPRI foundation. Many of Virginia's friends and family have already donated to this worthy cause and we hope that the benefits of these programs will attract ongoing support for years to come.
"If you would like to support OHPRI’s programs in honor of Captain Virginia, you can do so in a couple of ways. You can go to the OHPRI webpage (www.ohpri.org), click on the Donate tab and make a contribution there. Please put a note in the “additional information” section directing your donation to the Captain Wagner Scholarship Fund.
"Or if you prefer, a check made payable to “Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island” can be mailed to:
"Captain Wagner Scholarship Fund
109 Long Wharf
Newport, RI 02840.
"Please be sure to indicate on your check that your donation is for the Captain Wagner Scholarship Fund. OHPRI is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible.
"Due of the nature of Virginia’s disease, things are happening fast. This event and the scholarship fund have just been organized in the last couple of days. I apologize for the short time between this message and the event on the OHP, but if you are moved to make a contribution and could let me know right away, I can include your donation in the official announcement of the fund at the event on Saturday. Of course, donations made now or later are greatly appreciated.
"We are all better people for having known Virginia, and I hope you will find it in your heart to honor her and support this cause that is so important to her."