Mast Stepped on RI Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry

Mast Stepped on RI Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry
Photo/OHPRI by Onne van der Wal

The 132’ mainmast of the 200’ Tall Ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry was stepped Wednesday, September 24, in a dockside ceremony at The Hinckley Company in Portsmouth, RI, marking a major milestone in the completion of Rhode Island’s Official Sailing Education Vessel that will serve students from across the country and abroad.  Attending were supporters—including donors and Board members—of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI), the non-profit organization responsible for building and operating the ship.

The mainmast towers 13 ½ stories (or 120’) above the deck of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry.  It is made up of 3 sections:  the 65’ long lower section made of steel and its upper two sections (called the topmast and t’gallant) made of Douglas fir, which came from a private tree farm in Rainier, Oregon and was turned in Washington State on the largest spar lathe in North America. Collectively, Perry’s 19 wooden spars—including the mizzen, mainmast and royals for each; fore top mast and gallant; mizzen gaff; boom; and jib boom—weigh almost 36 tons and total 25,182 board feet.

The shrouds and backstays have been fabricated by a team of riggers employed by OHPRI since March of 2014. The team will spend the next 8 weeks completing the rig while the ship remains at The Hinckley Company, which has generously donated dock space.  Seven miles of rope and 4 miles of wire will be incorporated into the complex system that will support and allow the trimming of 20 sails with 14,000 sq. ft. of sail area.