The completed, 10-year restoration of the only active National Historic Landmark sailing vessel in Puget Sound will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. Friday with a public launch at the Port Townsend Boat Haven.
Like much of the earlier restoration projects, the final phase of restoration — the full replacement of the Adventuress’ deck — was made possible through a mix of state, federal and local grants as well as private donations.
“More than 50,000 kids around Puget Sound have acquired maritime knowledge and experience through sailings on the Adventuress,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend), who as chair of the capital budget helped secure state funds for the restoration. “The restoration of this century-old tall ship to a 50-year standard ensures that this invaluable education can continue for decades.”
Prior projects, in phases, restored the ship’s hull and replaced its WWII-era diesel engine with a state-of-the-art, Tier 3 John Deere engine that can nearly double the vessel’s speed when necessary, to 12 knots. The restorations were performed during the Adventuress’ November-to-February off-season, in between sailings seasons. The completion of the restorations means the ship can shift from a dual education-and-restoration focus to full-time education.
“We’ve had to manage intense winter restoration windows,” said Catherine Collins, executive director of Sound Experience, the nonprofit behind the Adventuress. “Now we’ll be open for business year-round to work with schools and skill centers to spread our state’s maritime history and heritage to even more kids.”
As an example, Collins said the organization has applied for a second No Child Left Inside grant that would enable it to expand its reach to at-risk youth around the region.
“The Adventuress is well known for the unique opportunities it provides to thousands of kids from all around Puget Sound, and rightly so,” said Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim), who helped shepherd grants through the Senate. “What you don’t hear about, and which is so vital to our rural communities, are the local jobs that the restoration work makes possible.”
One such job went to Rowan Schatz, a student at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, which has also benefited from state grants that expanded its faculty and curriculum. Hired by Sound Experience to work alongside the team of shipwrights that restored the Adventuress’ deck, Schatz acquired the additional skills he needed to be fully qualified for a shipwright’s position of his own.
“There’s a strong synergy between the ship and the school, and it makes for a terrific blend of education and employment opportunities,” said Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), who also worked to provide the grants. “Kids are learning trades they might never have known existed, and getting access to all kinds of good jobs in today’s maritime industry.”