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The following story appears Fall 2008 issue:

BLACK PEARL:  SAVING OUR NAUTICAL HERITAGE...

...ONE BOAT AT A TIME

Simply put, BLACK PEARL is an American maritime treasure. Designed by Edson Schock and modeled after George Crowninshield's CLEOPATRA'S BARGE (1817), construction of BLACK PEARL was begun in 1939 at the Vaughn Shipyard in Wickford, RI. The date of her completion and subsequent launch varies by source; some say 1948 while others claim as late as 1952. She was built by Lincoln Vaughn as his personal yacht. It is rumored that Mr. Vaughn was able to construct her of the high-quality lumber made available to him during WWII through his U.S. Navy ship-building contracts. When the war ended, so did the lumber supply, and BLACK PEARL was finished somewhat shorter than originally designed.

BLACK PEARL was built of yellow pine planking on a framework constructed of oak. Her decks are now teak but were originally white pine. Like the dates of her launch, her precise specifications vary by source, but not by much: 79' sparred length, 52' hull length, 43' LWL, 9' draft, 62' mast height, 32 tons, and nearly 2000 square feet of sail. Although frequently called a brigantine, BLACK PEARL is more accurately described as an "hermaphrodite brig" - part brig and part schooner. While a brigantine has square topsails on her main topmast, the hermaphrodite brig has a square-rigged foremast and the fore-and-aft rigged mainmast of a schooner. Her particular rigging supposedly makes it possible for just two sailors to manage her. Equally impressive is her history.

Strapped for cash, Lincoln Vaughn sold BLACK PEARL to Barclay Warburton III in 1958. A Harvard graduate of the class of '48 and a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, Warburton opened the Black Pearl restaurant in 1967 in Newport, RI where he docked BLACK PEARL. The restaurant is still there today but not the ship. Warburton sailed her to Europe to participate in the 1972 International Sail Training Races. On his return voyage aboard BLACK PEARL and inspired by the enthusiasm he witnessed, Warburton founded the American Sail Training Association with BLACK PEARL as the organization's flagship. To this day, ASTA remains actively engaged in youth education through sail training and the preservation of North America's maritime heritage, as well as organizing the Tall Ships Challenge series. ASTA played host to the tall ships that participated in the 1976 bicentennial celebration of the United States and today boasts a membership of over 250 vessels from its start aboard BLACK PEARL.

BLACK PEARL went on to participate in the celebration of Boston's 300th anniversary along with 50 tall ships from around the world, Philadelphia's 300th anniversary along with 65 international tall ships, and too many tall ship races, regattas, and parades to list here. She acted as the Committee Boat for the 1995 Special Olympics, and before she was done over 500 young men and women would receive sail training on her decks. She even called New York's South Street Seaport her home for a period of time and while ported there she raced in 10 Mayor's Cup Races.

 

 

 

The following story appears Fall 2008 issue:

BLACK PEARL:  SAVING OUR NAUTICAL HERITAGE...

 BLACK PEARL -- AN AMERICAN MARITIME TREASURE

Warburton died in May of 1983 at the age of 61 and willed her to the American Sail Training Association, the organization he founded on her decks. She is believed to have been renovated in 1985 and then passed through a number of hands before being purchased by the non-profit Aquaculture Foundation of Connecticut in 1993 for use in sail training programs and maritime education. By the mid-1990s, it became clear that BLACK PEARL was in need of a complete restoration. The Aquaculture Foundation embarked upon a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds. Restoration was to begin in the summer of 1997 and be completed in time for participation in OPSAIL 2000. That restoration was never done.

BLACK PEARL sits on the hard in Chester, CT. She is believed to be "dried up" but "structurally in good shape." The current owner is asking $5000 to cover storage fees, but the story doesn't end there. Reportedly, a well-known restoration school in Newport is interested in returning BLACK PEARL to her former glory if a sponsor can be found to fund the work. One scenario has the ship owned by a non-profit, with charter fees used to cover its ongoing maintenance costs. For further information, contact Eric at 508-207-7040 or email info@vintageyachtshare.com

  Follow Up Story in Winter 2009 Issue: 

< BLACK PEARL SAVED BY BONE YARD SUBSCRIBER >

 

 

 
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      Bone Yard Boats     ***     P.O. Box 1432     ***     Marblehead, MA  01945 42° 30.20'N   70° 50.20'W  
     
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Bone Yard Boats is the quarterly newsletter -- and website -- whose mission is to save old boats.
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