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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
NEWPORT – Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island has announced that the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, which the nonprofit is building as Rhode Island’s official sailing education vessel, has been granted a permanent home on the north side of a new pier being built as part of improvements at Fort Adams State Park.
“Having the Perry at Fort Adams will enhance the educational mission of the ship, highlight its status as a symbol of the state, and provide better access for visitors to the ship,” Bart Dunbar, president of the Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, said in a statement.
The organization also announced it exceeded its 2012 fundraising goal and has raised $6.5 million to date for efforts to build the ship including just over $1.1 million by a year-end matching grant challenge.
The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, being built at Senesco Marine in North Kingstown, is a 196-foot, three-masted, square-rigged tall ship with a steel hull over which a 13-story rig will tower.
The organization purchased the ship in 2008 from a group in Amhertsburg, Ontario. It is named after a Rhode Island native and American naval war hero who helped defeat the British in the Battle of Lake Erie.
“We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have had on the fund raising front,” Dunbar said. “We also are fortunate to have had the state helping us move this project forward since its inception.”
Governor Lincoln Chafee in 2012 signed legislation that gave the ship its official state status.
The ship will be used for year-round experience based learning opportunities and sailing as far south as the Carolinas or as far north as the Great Lakes and Canada in the summer and to the Bahamas or Caribbean in the winter.
There will be a capacity for up to 36 students on overnight trips and 85 for day trips with a 13 member crew. Scheduling options will include day sails, overnight, week-long, and three-week trips, as well as full semesters at sea.