The Schooner Virginia, which has had a place - at times a tenuous place - on the Norfolk waterfront has gotten a new lease on life. Launched in 2005, the replica schooner was tied to the dock with the crew laid off during the economic downturn in 2008. A few years later she was revived with a new business plan, though one that struggled in a difficult economy. In 2015 she was shut down again and listed for sale.
I am told that tonight the Norfolk city council will vote to accept a grant from the state to purchase the Virginia from the non-profit organization that built here. The ship will belong to Nauticus, the maritime center on the Norfolk waterfront.
I watched the schooner being built, I have sailed aboard her on two schooner races down the bay and I've been a guest aboard her during the Downrigging Festival in Chestertown. I have waved goodbye as she cast off her lines for Bermuda, I have been there at the dock to greet her when she returned from trips up and down the coast. But mostly I have enjoyed sailing Spartina near her sleek black hull and towering masts. She is a beautiful ship. She belongs on the Norfolk waterfront.
Virginia is up the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River now, most likely in need of some maintenance. I hope it is not too long before she is returned to the downtown waterfront.
From today's story in the paper....
Welcome back, Virginia.