2011-12-29 / News

Educational tall ship sets sail

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, a tall ship that will be used for educational programs at sea, tested the waters of Providence Harbor and upper Narragansett Bay on Dec. 12, when it was launched at Sims Metal Management in Providence and towed to its new home at Senesco Marine in North Kingstown.

At Senesco Marine, one of the Northeast’s premier shipyards for new construction and vessel repair, the nonprofit organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) will continue building the 196-foot (sparred length) steelhulled ship.

“Up until now we’ve been mostly laying groundwork,” said OHPRI construction supervisor Rick Williams. “This whole year has been devoted to welding, repairs and inspections, but now we are entering the real building stage. Senesco is where all the major construction will be taking place.”

Williams explained that this includes the fabrication of fuel and wing tanks; installation of the lower deck as well as machinery, engines and generators; fabrication of the new topsides, weather deck, bulwarks and transom; and the stepping of the ship’s three masts.

Before hitting the water, the bottom of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s hull was painted with supplies donated by Interlux Yacht Paint. The ship was towed approximately 18 miles from Sims to Senesco by Reagan Construction Corp.

“We’re very excited about the new location and the fact that the ship can remain in Rhode Island for completion,” said Williams, adding that Senesco Marine has been building steel vessels on 26 acres of land at Quonset Point since 1999. “Senesco will fit the bill perfectly.”

Since the hull was first bought by OHPRI in 2007 from a Canadian group, the organization has worked to create a network of donors and suppliers to help build the ship while focusing on the maritime heritage of Rhode Island. The list of OHPRI Marine Trades Partners continues to grow rapidly and includes Furuno USA, Hall Spars and Rigging, Harken, Hood Sailmakers, KVH Industries, Matthew Smith Naval Architect, Milton CAT, Newport Harbor Corporation, Ocean Navigator Publishing and Onne van der Wal Photography.

”These fine companies, representing the best of Rhode Island’s world renown marine industries, have stepped up to become partners, stretching our precious resources as we create this floating education facility,” said Williams. “We appreciate their involvement and invite others to join in.”

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