SSV Oliver Hazard Perry to Sail to Northwest Passage

This summer, the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will sail from its homeport of Newport, RI on a five-week expedition to the Canadian Arctic, becoming the first full-rigged sailing ship to sail in the Northwest Passage in more than a century. The University of Rhode Island has received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a research and education expedition into the Canadian Arctic’s Northwest Passage.

From the URI websiteTwo groups, each consisting of 18 students—six high school students, nine undergraduate students and three graduate students—will sail for 17-day legs of the expedition. The students will receive science instruction as the ship is underway, gain navigation and sailing skills and work alongside ocean scientists as they conduct Arctic research. The 18 undergraduate students will be from the Minority Serving Institutions. There will be a nationwide application process for high school and graduate students.

The students will also contribute to daily live broadcasts from the Arctic that will stream from the ship via satellite to the Inner Space Center, which will then send the live broadcasts to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, the Exploratorium in San Francisco and Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, where audiences will be able to interact in real time with the scientists and students aboard the ship.

In addition to the live broadcasts from sea, the project will result in a two-hour, ultra high-definition documentary for television. The Minority Serving Institutions and the three science museums will host screenings of the film and events where the public can meet the expedition’s students and scientists.

The three-year Northwest Passage Project is a collaboration among GSO, the film company David Clark, Inc., and several other partners, including America’s newest tall ship, the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, three science museums, PBS NewsHour Reporting Labs, and six Minority Serving Institutions: California State University Channel Islands; City College of New York; Florida International University; Texas State University; University of Illinois at Chicago; and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Oliver Hazard Perry is a 207 feet long, steel hulled, three-masted square-rigged ship and is the largest privately owned tall ship as well as the largest civilian sail training vessel in the United States. It is also the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in the US in over 100 years. She is operated by the non-profit organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island.

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10 Responses to SSV Oliver Hazard Perry to Sail to Northwest Passage

  1. Douglas Pohl says:

    BOGUS claim to say “sailing the Northwest Passage” by sailing from Newport Rhode Island to Pond Inlet and not transit to the Pacific Ocean Arctic Circle in Bering Strait. Especially bogus for educated (so they claim) professors to be receiving National Science Foundation funding to enrich themselves and the University of Rhode Island (no full disclosure of funds distribution).

    Sad but true… just follow the money and the ship’s route – slick rhetoric while placing student lives at risk – for what? Education? You don’t need to take a tall-ship into dangerous Arctic waters to achieve that goal. After all, just look at the professors who wrote the grant proposal… are the goals really worth risking lives? I know they are not.

    NSF bamboozled by slick grant writing well-connected professors to save their arms-length non-profit charitable trust ship. Just follow the MONEY!

  2. DAVID RYE says:

    Today’s U.K. t.v. news reported that the circumnavigation of the North Pole has been completed.
    No doubt Rick will advise when confirmation is available.

  3. Well, well I never. How good to see an American protesting this event and the college elitists called to account. This vacation trip will require the escort duty of a Canadian Coastguard icebreaker of the “Department of Fish and Ships” – in my day we were part of the Department of Transport. It seems to be forgotten that these waters are Canadian which is a sovereign nation and remarkably tolerant of others encroaching on its sovereignty.

    Perhaps the Canadians should charge a Pilotage fee comparable to that billed the Norwegian Viking trip across the Great Lakes. That should take care of things.

    Good Watch.

  4. Irwin Bryan says:

    Well Rick, it all sounded wonderful before the naysayers had a chance to comment! I like the opportunities for the students and the way the SSV Perry team has put this together to help the ship generate funds other than relying on donations to operate!

  5. Rick Spilman says:

    Captain, college elitists? What about the high-school elitists? I have no doubt that good folks at OHPRI have made the appropriate arrangements with the Canadian authorities. Sounds like a fantastic trip.

  6. Rick Spilman says:

    Douglas, the post made no reference to a transit of the Northwest Passage, although I can imagine how the post title might be confusing. I have modified it.

    Otherwise your comments seem more than a bit over the top. It sounds like a very worthwhile and interesting voyage.

  7. Rick Spilman says:

    Irwin, I agree. The concerns seem rather overblown to be. Sounds like a fascinating trip and far less dangerous to the environment than rich folks on massive cruise ships.

  8. Rick Spilman says:

    Very interesting, David. Thanks.

  9. eastriver says:

    Hmmm. Is she ice-classed? Just sayin’