2011-09-29 / News

122-foot Lynx to enter Jamestown waters next week


The Lynx, a 122-foot, 114-ton square-rigged topsail schooner, will arrive in Jamestown for the first time next week. Educational programs for children will be held aboard the ship. The Lynx, a 122-foot, 114-ton square-rigged topsail schooner, will arrive in Jamestown for the first time next week. Educational programs for children will be held aboard the ship. On Thursday, Oct. 6, Lynx will slip quietly into the harbor at East Ferry. That is, as quietly as a 122- foot, 114-ton square-rigged topsail schooner can arrive while offering a salute from her main battery of sixpounder carronades upon her arrival.

Lynx will then take a place at Conanicut Marina, where it will remain for four days.

Lynx is an interpretation of an actual privateer named Lynx, built by Thomas Kemp in 1812 in Fell’s Point, Md. It was among the first ships to defend American freedom by evading the British naval fleet then blockading American ports and serving in the important privateering efforts.

The U.S. Navy consisted of only 17 ships when the War of 1812 broke out. There were eight frigates, two brigs, and seven smaller ships, including several schooners. To compensate for the lack of ships, owners of private vessels got special permissions, called “letters of marque,” to attack enemy shipping. Thus, the designation “privateer.”

The new Lynx was built in Rockport, Maine, by Rockport Marine, and launched in July 2001. It was designed by the internationally renowned naval architect Melbourne Smith.

The ship is owned by the Lynx Educational Foundation, a nonprofi t corporation. According to the foundation’s mission statement, the foundation is “dedicated to handson educational programs that teach the history of America’s struggle to preserve its independence. The maritime challenges during the War of 1812 are taught aboard the American privateer schooner Lynx utilizing a comprehensive, interactive program designed to enrich personal achievement through teamwork and the discipline of sail training.”

The driving force behind the creation of Lynx, and the current president of the board of directors, is Woodson K. Woods. “Lynx provides a training ground for children and adults,” said Woods, “and gives them the opportunity to learn the ways of seafarers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Lynx explores the role played by privateers in American history as well as teaches the important lessons of the Revolutionary War.”

Woods is a native of St. Louis who currently lives in Hawaii. He is a lifetime sailor and student of maritime history. “I wanted to create for others the rewards garnered from a deep interest in maritime history and the rich world of the sea,” he said.

The creators of Lynx have gone the extra mile to ensure period authenticity. The ship flies pennants and flags from the 1812 era, and is fitted with the ordnance of the day. The crew wears period dress and Lynx is operated according to the maritime traditions of the early 19th century. Lynx represents a letter of marque Baltimore clipper, considered to be among the finest privateer schooners ever built.

Lynx sails with a complement of eight full-time crewmembers. The ship’s captain on its arrival in Jamestown will be Newport resident John Beebe-Center.

The San Diego-based ship left home in November 2009 and has been traveling ever since. Lynx has been up and down the East Coast a couple of times, and this summer it visited the Great Lakes for the second time.

According to Cindy Buffa, the director of education and sail training for the Lynx Educational Foundation, Lynx is a 21st century vessel but has the new job to teach “American citizens about the War of 1812.”

Buffa’s daughter, Karafaye, is a senior at Salve Regina University who sailed from southern California to Hawaii aboard Lynx in 2004.

While Lynx is in port here in Jamestown, there will be educational tours of the ship offered, as well as two-hour afternoon “sail-aways.” The ship tours will be offered from Friday, Oct. 7, to Sunday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The cost is $7 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free with paying adults. The ship will also be open for tours on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At 3 p.m. each day, Lynx and its crew will take visitors on a two-hour cruise on Narragansett Bay. The cost of the voyage is $55 for adults, $45 for seniors and active-duty military members, and $30 for children 12 and under.

“People can take as much as they want,” Buffa said. “If they just want to come out for the sail, they don’t have to listen to the crew talking or ask questions. Our crew will explain different things aboard the ship. They’re happy to answer questions that are asked of them. They will be firing guns, including the four sixpounder carronades.”

For reservations, call 866-446- 5969 or visit PrivateerLynx.org.

“We are very excited to visit Jamestown for the first time and want to thank the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, and May Munger of the Conanicut Marina for their hospitality,” said Jeff Woods, director of operations for the Lynx Educational Foundation. “It is through their generous support that Jamestown residents will have the chance to walk the decks and step back in time aboard Lynx, America’s national treasure.”

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