Sailing Tall : Elissa, Official Tall Ship of Texas

Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 06:14 am

United Kingdom 1877-1897,
Sweden 1912-1929,
Ă…land Islands, Finland 1929-1942,
Finland 1942-1959,
Greece 1959-1970,
Texas, USA 1970- today


1991 ELISSA is named a National Historic Landmark
2000 ELISSA is designated as one of "America's Treasures"

And now she'll be the "Official Tall Ship of Texas"
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 06:15 am
From The Houston Chronicel, print version, March 29, 2006, frontpage + page B1 + page B4

Sailing tall

Acrew of volunteers loosens the sails on the Elissa, a Galveston waterfront icon, before it sailed into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday with a new designation as the official Tall Ship of Texas.
Volunteers work thousands of hours each year to keep the ship in its original 1877 condition.
See page 11

The Elissa sets sail as Tall Ship of Texas
Costs of upkeep are still an issue for historic vessel
A VISION: Beachgoers stroll as the Elissa makes its way out into the Gulf from Pier 22 in Galveston Harbor

See page B4
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 06:15 am
HEAVE HO!: Kenny Quesenberry, a volunteer crew member from Wilmington, Del., pulls rope from the mast as the crew prepares to cast off Monday in Galveston. The Elissa was built in 1877, one of three ships from that era still operational in the U.S.

Chronicle Suburban Editor Pete McConnell contributed to this report.

1877 condition in Galveston and it was opened to public tours at Galveston's Pier 22 in 1982 after a restoration costing about $7 million.

Although scores of volunteers spend thousands of hours each year painstakingly maintaining the 129-year-old vessel and about 50,000 people pay to visit the ship at the Texas Seaport Museum annually, the foundation struggles with the expense of maintaining an authentic 19th-century sailing vessel, said Marsh Davis, the historical foundation's executive director.

Costs a concern

The foundation is talking to consultants about the feasibility of establishing a multimilliondollar endowment to help cover maintenance costs, Davis said Monday. No decision to launch an endowment campaign has been made, he said.

"The ship is a wonderful resource but extremely expensive and we want to ensure the longterm future of the vessel as an actual sailing ship," Davis said.

The ship has sailed several days a year most years since 1982. In 1986, Elissa participated in the parade of tall ships from around the world that gathered in New York's harbor to celebrate the centennial of the Statue of Liberty. Elissa had docked in New York in 1884, two years before the statue was erected.

Monday's trip into the Gulf of Mexico was the first of several scheduled trips the ship will make to sea through April 4.

The so-called "day-sails" reward volunteers' work.
"This is an incredible example of maritime history," volunteer Monica Schmiz said of Elissa, at the same time bemoaning the dwindling knowledge of tall-ship handling among present-day mariners due to technological advances. "This is a case in which you use your brain, knowledge of the winds, the seas and the tides."

Volunteer Sharon Varble, a retired air traffic controller, found the deck work hard but rewarding.

"I've always loved to sail and I feel a kinship with it," Varble said of the ship. "It's lovely. But I never thought I'd get so dirty in my life."

The ship, one of only three pre-20th century squareriggers in the U.S. restored to full sailing capability, sails with a licensed captain and officers and a trained volunteer crew. The ship has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

Built in Scotland

The three-masted squarerigger was built in Aberdeen, Scotland, and spent 20 years delivering cargos around the world as a British merchant ship before being sold in 1897 to a Norwegian company and being renamed the Fjeld. In 1911, the ship was sold again, renamed the Gustav and handed down through a series of Swedish, Finnish and Greek owners.

In the 1950s, the vessel was known to have been used to smuggle untaxed cigarettes between Italy and the former Yugoslavia, then later taken out of service and docked in Greece. [email protected]
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 06:16 am

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Admission: $6 for adults and $4 for students 7 to 18. Children 6 and under are admitted free. Discounts are available for families and prearranged group tours.

Elissa sea trials:

During this nearly two-week period, Elissa will be closed for public tours, but the museum at which the ship is regularly docked will remain open, charging half the normal admission prices. Dockside public visits resume April 6.

Details: 409-763-1877 or visit www.tsm-elissa.org/

During sea trials

Where: The public may watch Elissa depart from Pier 22, off Harborside Drive between 21st and 22nd Streets in Galveston. For security reasons, those who wish to see the departures will not be allowed onto the pier until 10 a.m.

Other vantage points: The far east end of Seawall Boulevard in Galveston.

At home:

The ship will not sail on Friday or on Monday. On April 4, Elissa will begin an overnight trip into the Gulf, returning the afternoon of April 5.

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 09:19 am
A correction re the source of above: it's the Houston Chronicle as of March 28 Embarrassed

(All other data are correct.)
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Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 09:50 am
Thanks Walter!

I lived in Galveston for a few years and toured the Elissa. What a beautiful ship. I'd forgotten how lovely she is.
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