Tuesday, April 12, 2016

new lease on life

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....

The schooner Virginia, a 122-foot sailing vessel meant to serve as the flagship of the commonwealth, is set to have a permanent home in Norfolk.
Using a $1 million state grant, the Nauticus Foundation plans to buy the ship and use it to teach underprivileged kids how to sail. The Virginia would be docked near the battleship USS Wisconsin, and the public would be able to tour it for free.
The City Council will vote tonight on a plan to accept the state grant and give it to the Nauticus Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the city-run Nauticus center.

Welcome back, Virginia.

1 comment:

EyeInHand said...

Good news, indeed. And glad to hear it.