The first day of the season was on March 14th. 7 of the 17 seasonal crew are now here to add to the 4 full-time members of the pro crew. These 12 plus our numerous volunteers who come down everyday will be the crew that are going to rig the ship this Spring. The rest of the crew will arrive during the month of May after we start sailing. David Goldman, Michael Pierson and Sydnee Groenendaal have been here since Jan 4th as our winter maintenance crew either working down in the Rig Shop or out in the Engine Room getting ready for the 2013 season.
The crew has been fighting the elements to get the ship rigged so far. The first and second weeks of rigging were held up due to snow and January like conditions but they have been gaining ground everyday that it has not been snowing or not below 20 degrees. Once the winter cover came off we were able to get a crane to come in a week later to send up both topmasts and all of their associated rigging, both lower yards, the jibboom, the spanker boom, both anchors and all of the deck boxes. The crane has helped us make up some time from all the bad weather. The weather this week finally has temperatures in the 50′s and we should be outside everyday working so anyone who is interested in seeing how to put together brig come on down and we will put you to work.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will post a bio of each of the seasonal crew that will be sailing with us this summer so all of you can get an idea of who your crew will be this year.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
So the schedule and syllabus for this winter’s sail training is ready to go. This is a great opportunity for everyone that stares at pictures of Niagara all over town thinking how much fun it would be to sail and work on that ship. Our goal is to train new volunteers to help us sail the ship during the coming sailing season for both day sails in Erie and in passage. The Niagara volunteers are the only way that a ship like this can be taken care of to the high standard that she is.
The program starts with and orientation to the ship and the museum on either Saturday Jan 8th or Saturday Jan 15th at 0900. The training classes start on Saturday Jan 22nd and run every other week until April 16th. The classes start at 0830 and end at 1230.
Our sail training program won the American Sail Training Association’s “Sail Training Program of the Year” for 2010 and we are lead by Captain Wesley Heerssen who is the American Sail Training Association’s “Sail Trainer of the Year” for 2010.
Come on down and be a part of it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
In an annual effort to prepare the Flagship Niagara for the summer sailing season, the ship’s volunteer crew will don their work clothes this Friday and Saturday, March 19th and 20th to remove the ship’s winter cover. Originally scheduled for removal on Saturday, March 27th, the project has been moved earlier due to the weather forecast for the next ten days.
Made of steel posts, wooden beams, and traditional canvas, the ship’s winter cover is designed to protect the ship during strong winter gales and heavy ice and snow. The volunteer and professional crewmembers will begin removing canvas at 11am on Friday, March 19, and will remove the cover’s framing on Saturday.
“This Saturday marks the beginning of the 20th sailing season for the Flagship Niagara, and we intend to celebrate it by sailing more, taking more people out on the water, and delivering our educational cargo to more people this year than ever before” said Capt. Wesley Heerssen. “To do this, we need to get the ship prepared for sailing earlier than ever before. This was an El Nino winter…shorter and milder than usual, and we intend to take advantage of the early spring. We’re going to uncover the ship this weekend with volunteers, then get the ship cleaned up for the seasonal crew to move onboard when they arrive in Erie next weekend. With any luck, we’ll only see a couple inches of wet snow in late March, which we’ll have to plod our way through, and then we’ll rig up the ship in time for sailing on April 29th.”
“The public are, as always, invited to volunteer as ship’s crew, and it’s never too late to get started. This Saturday, new and prospective volunteers are asked to show up at the rear entrance to the Erie Maritime Museum, directly at the dock, alongside the ship, at 9am. New volunteers should ask for the Chief Mate, Billy Sabatini, and he’ll get them signed up and started” said Capt. Heerssen.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The first class of Winter Sail Training 2010 will be Saturday, Jan 30th. There are 35 people that will be taking part in the training including 26 people that signed up last Sat. during the Volunteer Orientation. The day was a great success. Between the new volunteers and our regular group that comes down we have around 60 people here. These are the kind of numbers we want to see every weekend from now on. Thank you all who came down. We were able to get a lot of work down very quickly with that kind of workforce and we were on TV.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This Saturday will be the start of this years Winter Sail Training beginning with a new volunteer Orientation. If you or anyone else is interested in joining out volunteer crowd come on down.
This is the advertisement that is going out on other websites and blogs.
If you’re age 16 or over, and interested in preserving history, sailing, or the great outdoors, then the US Brig Niagara, www.flagshipniagara.org, needs you! As the 2010 summer sailing season approaches, Erie residents and anyone from the tri-state area are invited to attend an orientation for new volunteers at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16th, 2010 at the Erie Maritime Museum, 150 East Front St, Erie, PA.
|Our course will focus on the fundamentals of square-rig seamanship and the volunteers will directly apply those skills in fitting-out the ship for sailing in May|
New volunteers may sign up to join our well-trained volunteer crew to help maintain and learn to sail the ship. Niagara volunteers form an invaluable part of the ship’s sailing crew each summer. They receive sail training during the winter and provide continuity from year to year, which helps whenever new volunteers and trainees join the ship.
“During the dark winter months, Niagara is an upbeat place where volunteers can come to find a special camaraderie with shipmates that stems from their mutual pride in caring for the ship. Niagara is a famous icon of Erie, with a story of great national significance. Her preservation and operation go hand-in-hand with the proper interpretation of her history. Has there ever been a more important time to consider the significance of our history and decide to preserve such a tremendous educational tool as Niagara?” said Captain Wesley Heerssen.
New volunteers are invited to attend a sail training course (at no cost), which includes hands-on training in the museum’s rigging loft, and on the full-scale indoor model of Niagara’s Topgallant mast. The course begins with the orientation on January 16th and continues on alternate Saturdays through April 24th.
While the course is free, the Niagara relies on volunteer service to maintain the ship. Volunteers are invited and encouraged to help sail Niagara in the summer months as their availability permits. “Our course will focus on the fundamentals of square-rig seamanship and the volunteers will directly apply those skills in fitting-out the ship for sailing in May,” said Captain Heerssen.
Sign up for Orientation no later than Thursday, January 14th by calling Julie Wagner in the Erie Maritime Museum office at 814-452-BRIG, extension 222.
Today marks the end of the 2009 sailing season. We will be down to only a couple seasonal crew left to help with maintenance. The galley will stop operations and the crew will start living semi normal lives again. We have sailed more days this summer than any other summer here in the Lakes. In 84 days at sea we sailed 2673 nautical miles. That is a lot of sailing for not doing a large voyage.
I am very pleased with how the crew how done this season dealing uncertainties the entire time but still holding true to taking care of the ship, their shipmates and when they had time themselves too. It has been an honor to sail with this crew and I can only hope that the 2010 crew will work as well together.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Winter Maintenance. I know it’s not winter yet but it will be soon enough. As usual there is a big maintenance project going on. We will be replace at least one of our Main channels. I will post about that project as it happens. In the Rig Shop out goal is to get through all the pallets of rigging this year and we can use all the help we can get so anyone interested in volunteering come on down.
We made through this season and with everyone’s continued support we will hopefully be able to make through 2010 as well.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Work Schedule October 25- December 31, 2008
Saturday, October 25: Depending on how many service-learning students and how many volunteers show up, we will work on the following in order of priority:
1. Deckwash/ below-decks clean up
2. Continue stripping Cutter II
3. Start replacement/ construction of new fore shrouds & introductory class- (describe plan)
4. Continue varnishing spars
5. Remove all navigation electronics
6. Winterize prop shafts
Saturday, November 1
1. Deckwash/ below-decks clean-up
2. Vacuum bilges, install bilge lights, inspect/ repair bilge fans, install heaters
3. Winterize engines, generators, water maker, compass, batteries, potable water tanks, heads
4. Paint lower yards
5. Continue varnish/oil/paint Cutter II
6. Continue fore shrouds
Saturday, November 8
1. Start servicing tops’l yards & gear
2. Continue fore shrouds
Saturday, November 15
1. Continue cutter II
2. Continue tops’l yards & gear
Saturday, November 22
1. Start Cutter I
2. Start servicing T’gallant yards
Sunday, November 23 through Monday, December 1
ALL HANDS OFF FOR THANKSGIVING WEEK!
Saturday, December 6 (Schedule gets much more tentative from this point forward):
1. Continue Cutter I, prep & varnish flying jibboom, start servicing pallets.
2. Birthday Bash at Kathy Coleman’s House, after work till ?
Saturday, December 13: Evening Christmas Tree Ship event on ship. Install tops on new foremast (very tentative). Continue Cutter I
Tuesday, December 16: Dress Foremast (very tentative)
Wednesday, December 17: Crane Day (very tentative)
Thursday, December 18: Cut, Cap, Seize & Tune Shrouds
Friday, December 19: Cut, Cap, Seize & Tune Shrouds
Saturday, December 20: Tune Shrouds, 1st ever “Bad Christmas Sweater Christmas Party” & Farewell to Goldie & Sam at the Heerssen house!
December 21, 2008- January 2, 2009: All Hands Off
Work Party Jan. 10, 2009 (details later)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )