WOODEN BOAT FESTIVAL — 100-year-old ship 'belle of ball'
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
The historic schooner Adventuress will be giving public sails through Sunday in Port Townsend.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — The centennial celebration of the Adventuress has turned the historic schooner into a centerpiece of this year's Wooden Boat Festival.

Catherine Collins, executive director of Sound Experience, which manages the educational vessel, said the Adventuress this year is “the belle of the ball.”

Some 300 wooden boats are expected at the three-day festival that began Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday at the Point Hudson Marina Festival Grounds at the end of Water Street.

The festival features myriad demonstrations and presentations by experts in boatbuilding and sailing skills.

The Adventuress will be docked at the Northwest Maritime Center at 431 Water St. through Sunday.

It will offer six public sails from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Space is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to 45 people for each sailing.

For nonmembers, the sails are $65 for adults and $35 for children. There are discounts for members of many nonprofit organizations.

Joining the crew, even for a short time, offers a life-changing experience, say those who work on the boat.

“People who sail with us will get a snapshot of our environmental programs and how the ship is a platform for education,” said Joshua Berger, one of the ship's two active captains.

People who sail on the boat “have a passion for the ship and its place in Puget Sound,” Collins said.

One hundred is a big number for the Adventuress. Not only is it 100 years old, but it also is a little more than 100 feet long and weighs 100 tons.

The schooner as built in East Boothbay, Maine, in 1913 for John Borden, who wanted to sail it to Alaska. A year later, it was sold to the Port of San Francisco as a pilot ship.

Sold again in 1952, it was moved to the Pacific Northwest.

The nonprofit Sound Experience, based in Port Townsend, has operated it since 1989.

In recent years, an average of 5,000 people annually have participated in its sailing programs, with that many again visiting the ship in port.

The programs have a link to the past.

“When you see the Adventuress now, it's in the exact way as you did 100 years ago,” Collins said.

“Whether she was sailing to the Arctic in 1913 or around Puget Sound today, she looks exactly the same.”

There are some differences between then and now, such as the vegetarian diet served to the crew while sailing.

“Storage of food and cooking is our largest energy draw,” Berger said.

“We are an environmental ship and maximize our efficiencies any way we can, and to store and cook meat on board the ship is a very difficult, energy-intensive thing to do.”

The philosophy goes beyond the vessel, Berger said, adding that eating vegetables has less of an environmental impact on the planet.

Berger said the Adventuress hires three crews a year, from March to July, July to October and through the winter.

The summer staff is a sailing crew, while winter employees are skilled in restoration and repair.

Things could change, however, since winter repairs are the final stage in the restoration process that will keep the vessel in top shape for the next 50 years, Collins said.

If no winter repairs are scheduled, the Adventuress could expand its programs to a year-round format, Collins said.

A fundraising effort for the final phase of the five-year restoration is now in progress, with about $150,000 needed to complete renovation of the hull on the starboard side.

“This is an investment,” Collins said.

“People who contribute resources will ensure that thousands of kids will benefit from these educational programs for many years to come.”

The Adventuress is listed as a National Historic Landmark, Berger noted, adding that “any investment has significant public value.”

On Thursday, the Jefferson County Historical Society presented the Adventuress with a Historic Preservation Award, citing the restoration project as “adhering to the highest preservation standards.”

The Adventuress was built for $50,000, but its value has increased beyond estimation.

“It's priceless,” Collins said.

“And it will never be sold because it belongs not to one person but to all of us.”

For more information about tickets for sails during the Wooden Boat Festival, visit www.soundexp.org or phone the Sound Experience office at 360-379-0438.

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 06. 2013 9:23PM
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