RI Non-Profit Acquires Wooden Ketch for Youth Program


The 72’ wooden ketch Starbound recently made the 225-mile voyage from northern Maine to Narragansett Bay to begin its new mission as a platform for youth education and adventure. Starbound is currently under a long-term charter by the Rhode Island non-profit Seamanship and Leadership Training for Youths, or SALTY. Specializing in youth group charters from 1-10 days, Starbound will cruise the waters of Narragansett Bay, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Cuttyhunk.

Recent inspections revealed age-related damage to Starbound’s 2 original wooden masts and bowsprit – an unexpected discovery that will call for a substantial fundraising effort. A campaign is now in the planning stages, and will make use of tax-deductible donations and sponsorships, with the aim to quickly raise an estimated $80,000 for the mast replacement project.

Starbound has an adventure-filled history, having twice sailed around the world, and was once owned by the famed singer and actor Burl Ives.  She was originally built in 1950, based on Joshua Slocum’s 36’ Spray, made famous by completing the world’s first solo circumnavigation in 1898.  In the late 1990’s, Starbound’s prior owners funded a $650,000 restoration to her wooden hull, deck and marine systems. Currently, she is wintering at Wickford Shipyard, undergoing inspection and preparation for Coast Guard passenger vessel certification. As soon as weather permits, she will be sanded down to bare wood and refinished; taking on new sails and spars prior to her arrival at Norton’s Marina in East Greenwich, RI, where she will be headquartered.

Starbound will be the primary vessel for Sea Scouts Ship 1909, part of the Boy Scouts of America, a co-ed organization for young adults between the ages of 14 and 21. Other local youth groups have also shown interest. Charters are now being considered by the Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Ronald McDonald House and Gold Star Kids, an organization that provides experiences for teens who have lost a parent in military conflict.

Starbound joins the Sea Scouts’ local fleet of 4 additional sailing and powerboats. In February, Starbound gained a “little sister” with the acquisition of Golden Goose, a wooden 40’ Stadel schooner, built in 1975 and generously donated by a Rhode Island family. Including Golden Goose, SALTY will manage the largest youth-oriented fleet of its kind in New England, and possibly the biggest on the East Coast aside from a comparable Boy Scouts of America fleet in Florida. Golden Goose will be available for youth and corporate charters commencing in spring 2015.

For more information, email saltyfoundation@gmail.com or call (401) 742-5039