Sea History 090 - Autumn 1999

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SHIP NOTES, SEAPORT & MUSEUM NEWS The Lovely Black Pearl is on Her Way Back Excerpted from an article by Joan Stableford In 1971 Pecer Sranford, president of che Nacional Maririme Historical Sociery, rem embers receiving a disrressing phone call from Barclay Warburron III, owner of che brigantine yachc Black Pearl of 1948. "Peter, I h ave to get rid of chePearl. She's hopeless. She has considerable roe and I don 't think I can devore my life to rebuilding her. But I don 'r rhink anyone will rake on che project in the shape she's in ," Warburron said. A few months later, Scanford saw Warburron in Newporr, Rhode Island, and was happy to learn thar Barclay had decided not to sell her. Thac day, Barclay told Stanford he wo uld "bite rhe bullet and restore her" himself, and thac he intended to put her to use-for sail rraining cadets in the tall ships race in Europe. A year later, Warburron sailed rhe Black Pearl to Germany for the 1972 Intenutional Tall Ships race. The rejuvenated vessel had new bunks for 10 cadets, including rwo of Warburron's sons. The Black Pearl was the only American-builr square rigger to rake pan and che small esc of ch e Aeec. Disappointed by che poor American showing, Warburton decermined to ga rn er m ore interest in rail ship races and formed Th ll b · · Bl k p I the American Sail Training Association 1 , e sma rzgantzne ac ear at sea (ASTA) at a meenng · a board t hes h tp · . He became the first president and the Black Pearl becam e the fou nding ship of ASTA. After forming ASTA in 1973, Warburton sai led her with his student sailors in races in OpSai l '76 and elsewhere. When he di ed in 1983, the Black Pearl was passed on to ASTA. For close to rwo years, she lay idl e until ASTA sold the ship to NMHS. Jakob Isbrandrsen, chairman emeritus of the So uth Street Seapon Museum, and Stanford raised $75,000 , formed the Black Pearl Trusc and, with the help of volunteers, the Black Pearl soon pli ed the waters again o n sa il training voyages wirh young crew. After a bri ef stint at the "HMS" Rose Fo undation at Captain 's Cove in Bridgeport, Co nnecticut, sh e was acquired by rhe Aquaculture Foundation , with funding from ben efactor Elizabeth E. Pfriem, for sa il training exercises with che Foundation 's Bridgepon Regional Aquaculrure High School. Sin ce her acqui sition by rhe Foundacion, rh e Black Pearl h as trained m any high school sailo rs in cruises from Long Island So und to Block Island , Rhode Island. T he Black Pearl has en dured, despite several owners and fundin g problems for more rhan half a century because sh e still charm s sailors and maritime historians alike. Built in 1948 byC. Lin coln Vaughn, a shipbuilder from W ickford, Rhode Island, as his personal yacht, the 51-foothennaphrodite brigantine has bows remin iscent of the 1900s Fredoniatype fishing schooners and the greac clipper ships of the mid 1800s, with a sweeping cutwacer and eagle figurehead. Capable of setting 11 sails, her sm all scale m akes learning her operation accessible to yo ung and old. Should the wind fa il, she can cruise at 10 knots, powered by a 168-horsepower C ummins turbo diesel engine. The Black Pearl today faces needed repairs. In the summer of 1998 the Aquaculture Fo und ation received seed m oney in m emo ry of C harles M erritt from his daughter, Dr. Kat herine Brown; Merritt's son Ted is president of the Foundation. But the Black Pearl deserves more help. Afte r years of quick fi xes and patches, she requires a major overhaul. T he Aq uaculture Fo undati o n is in the midst of a m ajo r $3 00 ,000 fundraising campaign so that she m ay sail in 2000. O nce restored, th e Black Pearl can earn her keep in sail training classes for high schoo l students in northeas tern schools each fall and spring, and in university sail training cou rses in the Caribbean during the winter months. The Aquaculture Foundation, 6254 Main Street, Trumbull CT 06611; 2 03 261-3801


SPUN YARN In March, the long-running dispute berween Deep Sea Research, Inc., and the State of California over che rights to the wreck of the steamer Brother Jonathan ended in a settlement. The steam er sank off California in 1865 with the loss of 22 1 lives. The artifacts include rare coins and other val uables with an estimated worth of $5-10 million dollars. Under the terms of the settlement, D ee p Sea Resea rch, which located the wreck, wi ll receive 1,000 of the 1,200 rare gold coins recovered and the Srate of California will receive the res L The State also gets ride to all recovered artifacts that are not gold and the righc to oversee the preserva tion process . ... The M arine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kin gston, Ontario, is in th e midst of plans for a $3.4million Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Centre. The first phase involved rhe res torarion and reinsrall arion of rhe museum's histo ric 1890 drydock gate. The drydock itself wi ll beco me the perman ent berth of che museum 's Ca nadian Coast G uard icebreaker Alexander H enry. A visitors orientatio n cenrer, a walkway co nnecring rhe museum buildings and an upgrade of exhibitions are among the future proposals. (MMGL, 5 5 Ontario Screer, Kin gston ON, K7L2Y2, Ca nada; 613 542-2261) ... The Rotterdam Sailing Vessel Associacion is restoring the 250-ton Dutch iron sailing barge Helena of 1876, co nsid ered to be the las t in a uniqu e des ign of Rhine vessel. (RSVA, Van Anken Kni.ippe D amstra, Anrwoordnummer 180, 3001 Rotterdam, The Ne rherlands) ... T he carrier USS Intrepid in New York C iry is using a $ 13million federal gram to reco nsrrucr rhe WWII vessel's flighc deck. (Inrrepid SeaAir-Space Museum, 1 Intrepid Plaza, Pier 86, 46th Sueec & 12chAvenue, New York NY 10036; 212 245-0072) . .. The Pennsylvan ia Historical and Museum Commission has unanimously nominaced rhe liner SS United States for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. (SS Unired States Preservation Sociery, PO Box 90482, Raleigh NC 27675) .. . USS Constellation returned to her berth in Baltimore on 2 July 1999 afrer a restoration designed to return her to her original appearance of 1861. (Constell ario n Foundation, Inc., Pier 1, 30 1 Easr Pratt Street, Balrimore MD 2 1202-3134; 410 539(Continued on page 40) 39