Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry to Visit Providence

The Cranston Herald ·

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, Rhode Island’s official Sailing Education Vessel, will make its inaugural visit to the Ocean State’s capital on Thursday, September 29. The 200-foot three-masted Tall Ship will be docked at India Point Park on the Providence River and will host public tours from 6-8 p.m. that day.

Earlier that day, 30 Providence students from the MET School, Paul Cuffee School and the Village Green School will disembark following a four-day voyage that began in Newport. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. local teachers and students are invited to tour the ship, and teachers may participate in a free professional development workshop from 4-5 p.m. “Preparing Teachers for a Mission: Six Lessons Shared with the Military” will be led by Kathy Vespia, Ed. D., and Ret. Rear Admiral Barbara McGann, former executive director of the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, Mass. (The workshop will take place onboard in the Admiral Weschler Great Cabin. Space is limited; reservations are required, 841-0800 or jess@ohpri.org).

Accommodating 49 people overnight (including 17 professional crew), the purpose-built ship, which is wheelchair accessible, carries students of all ages who take active roles in sailing the ship safely, acquiring seamanship, leadership and teamwork skills during a unique experiential learning opportunity. As members of the crew, students work side-by-side with professional crew to learn square-rig seamanship – including bracing the yards, steering the ship and going aloft – and develop socially and academically while working as a unified team. The ocean-oriented educational programming available onboard reinforces STEAM courses (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).

Recently receiving her Coast Guard certification, 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.

For more information on the Providence appearance and opportunities, contact Jessica Wurzbacher, OHPRI Director, at

jess@ohpri.org or Kathy Vespia, Chair of the OHPRI Education Committee, at LeadingLearningInstitute@gmail.com

For more information on SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and its programs, visit www.ohpri.org or contact gretchen@ohpri.org, 841-0080. Follow OHPRI on Facebook and Twitter for current news and developments.

Fun Facts

o   Perry’s main mast is 13½ stories high (approximately 130’)

o   The main mast is made up of three sections:  the 65’ long lower section is made of steel and its upper two sections (called the topmast and t’gallant) are made of Douglas fir, which came from a private tree farm in Rainier, Oregon and was turned in Washington State on the largest spar lathe in North America.

o   Collectively, Perry’s 19 wooden spars, including the mizzen, mainmast and royals for each; fore top mast and gallant; mizzen gaff; boom; and jib boom, weigh almost 36 tons and total 25,182 board feet – enough to build a house of over 3700 square feet.

o   She has seven miles of running rigging, 20 sails (made by Hood Sails in Rhode Island) and 14,000 square feet of sail area.

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