2013-02-28 / News

Hazard Perry exceeds fundraising goals

Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, the nonprofit organization charged with building Rhode Island’s official sailing-education vessel, exceeded its 2012 year-end fundraising goals.

Also, the 196-foot square-rigged tall ship has been given a permanent home at the 240-foot-long pier that was designed as part of the improvements to Fort Adams in Newport.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have had on the fundraising front, having raised a total of $ 6.5 million so far, with just over $1.1 million of that generated by the year-end matching grant challenge,” said Bart Dunbar of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island. “We also are fortunate to have had the state helping us move this project forward since its inception.”

Gov. Lincoln Chafee last year signed legislation that gave the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry its offi- cial state status. The ship was then endorsed by state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, and now Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management, will oversee integration of the ship’s berth into the plans at Fort Adams.

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is currently under construction at Senesco Marine in North Kingstown. The ship has three masts and a steel hull over which a 13-story rig will tower. The hull was purchased in 2008 from a group in Ontario that had planned to build a dockside attraction. The hull arrived in Newport a few months later after being towed 892 miles.

Named after the Rhode Island native and American naval war hero who helped defeat the British in the Battle of Lake Erie, once completed the Oliver Hazard Perry will offer year-round learning experiences as it sails from New England to the Carolinas, Great Lakes and Caribbean.

The Oliver Hazard Perry is the first oceangoing full-rigged ship to be built in the United States in more 100 years. It will be a documented vessel inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, and will have a capacity for 36 students on overnight trips, and 85 students for day trips.

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