Wednesday, December 16, 2009

hard aground

Sad news from the Schooner Virginia today. The slow economy has caught up with the tall ship. It has been recalled from the Virgin Islands, the crew will be laid off and the schooner will be stored until the financial situation improves.
I had the pleasure of sailing aboard the schooner twice on the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. That is the Virginia in the background of the photo below tied up at Baltimore's Fells Point before the start of this year's race.

She was built on the Norfolk waterfront right next to where my daughters and I launched our first Spartina. Getting back to the ramp one afternoon a volunteer guide took us in to see her under construction. He gave us a sharpie and allowed us to sign each of our names to a frame, number 13 on the starboard side if I recall correctly, and below that we identified we ourselves as "the crew of Spartina." It was a very nice moment with my daughters.

And this photo was taken at the end of the 2005 race as the ship came the Elizabeth River. I'm sorry for the ship and I'm sorry for the crew. Fifteen people, very good people with a great sense of adventure, will be let go.

The foundation that operates Virginia says that this is a temporary situation. I hope so. There is a lot of our heritage in the tall ships. I hope it is not too long before the Virginia sails again.


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