The Rhode Island tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry, based in Newport, has been sailing on limited coastal trips all this summer, constrained from making more ambitious voyages until it received full USCG certification. Now, however, Perry has been given the go ahead by the Coast Guard to undertake "Exposed Waters" passages with students aboard. The Coast Guard has issued a stability letter confirming that the 200-foot, three-masted, full-rigged ship exceeds the Coast Guard's most stringent Sailing School Vessel standards for stability. Perry's first schedule offshore passage will be to Florida in January 2017.
The ship is currently dry-docked in North Kingstown, R.I. at J. Goodison Company, Inc. Goodison hauled Perry on October 19 with its new 820-metric ton marine Travelift. The non-profit organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI), owns and operates the ship.
From the press release: “After a successful first summer season of programs in New England, this yard period gives us the opportunity for some routine maintenance and improvements,” said Captain David Dawes. “This includes replacement of all fresh water tanks with stainless steel; modifications to the exhaust system; and installation of an emergency generator.”
According to OHPRI, the ship will re-launch at Goodison’s in early December and continue preparing for her trip south as Rhode Island’s Official Sailing Education Vessel. The plan is to conduct open-ocean training for crew, sail with students from partner academic institutions up and down the East Coast, and run Spring Break educational voyages and adult sailing opportunities while engaging Tall Ship enthusiasts at port visits along the way, giving them access to the ship to understand its background, purpose and the benefits of experiential education at sea.
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry has been eight years in the making and was completed with $17 million in private funds. Named for U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the Rhode Island War hero who defeated the British in the battle of Lake Erie, she is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in America in over a hundred years. She is not a replica, but instead a modern, steel-hulled vessel purpose-built for training and education to the highest modern safety standards.