Launching Life’s Adventure: Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island
Jess Wurzbacher, Executive Director, Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island
Captain Richard Bailey, Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island
OHPRI Presentation (PDF)
Why build a tall ship from scratch at the beginning of the twenty-first century? An ocean-going full-rigged ship hasn’t been attempted in these United States since 1904. SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, now in its final stages of construction in Rhode Island, is exactly that: a 500-ton, three-masted vessel, with square sails on all three masts, the tallest being 130 feet over the water. She takes her name from the Rhode Island-born hero of the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, whose pivotal victory was achieved beneath a flag emblazed with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship!” And similarly, Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, the nonprofit responsible for the ship’s construction, won’t give up the value of a tall ship. Though the heyday of the full-rigged ship may be past, the labor-intensive rig is prime training in the character values that will never be made obsolete.
Jess Wurzbacher is the Executive Director for the Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, she joined the team in 2012 finding her perfect niche for life on land after over ten years of global adventures after leaving England shortly after graduation. Previously she was the Chief Scientist and Program Manager for Sea|mester for 6 years, sailing 40,000nm with students aboard Argo and Ocean Star, crossing the Indian Ocean and Atlantic, Cape of Good Hope, Med & Caribbean. Prior to this she conducted a variety of marine conservation projects in Fiji, the Bahamas, Tobago, Indonesia & the Seychelles. She has taught Biology at Roger Williams University and also taught at the high school level at the Island School in the Bahamas, an inquiry based high school semester program.
Richard Bailey is the designated captain of Oliver Hazard Perry. He was the long-time captain of ‘HMS’ Rose, America’s only Class A-size, ocean-going Sailing School Vessel, and sailed that ship to Europe and back, to Labrador and the Caribbean, and to the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he managed the ship during the making of the film Master and Commander. With OHPRI, his wide-ranging duties include roles in the design work, dealing with governmental regulators, conducting historical research, writing a Captain’s Blog for the OHPRI web site, crafting a sail training manual, providing advice and insight on education, public relations, and fundraising, and much more. He has also sailed as captain of a number of square-rigged vessels including most recently the barquentine Gazela Primeiro as well as numerous schooners and smaller sail training vessels. He holds a Master of Sail/Oceans/1600 tons license.