RI Tall Ship Eyes Fundraising Goal, Plans Event

Rhode Island’s first education-at-sea tall ship, the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, is on its way to completion, and a fundraiser to be held on Thursday, May 17 (6:30-9:00 p.m.), will bring the community together to celebrate and learn more about the vessel, which aims to sail as a 196-foot (sparred length), three-masted, square-rigged tall ship by July 2013. With the theme “A Star to Steer Her By,” the fourth annual event is hosted by the non-profit organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) and has been moved from its previous location of Harbour Court to Castle Hill on Ocean Drive in order to accommodate the ship’s growing following. Encouraging participation from across Rhode Island and the region, the ticketed event will include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while featuring a live auction (7:30), with all proceeds going to the ship’s construction and education programs.

Sponsors for the fund raiser at press time include Bowen’s Wharf Company, Island Outfitters, Newport Harbor Corporation, Newport Storm Brewery, Thomas Tew Rum and Vineyard Vines. Among the prized auction items are luxury accommodations in Europe, scenic New England retreats and classic yachting adventures.

As of January 2012, OHPRI had raised nearly $5 million toward its $7.4 million fund raising goal. Currently, the hull of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is berthed at Senesco Marine in North Kingstown, R.I., where it is undergoing major steel work in preparation for its upper deck and the addition of 331,650 pounds of lead ballast. The ship’s mission is to be Rhode Island’s flagship non-profit maritime campus, offering experienced-based core learning opportunities to a diverse student population, including those with disabilities.

Ticket pricing starts at $125 for individuals and includes advanced ticket options for Patrons and Benefactors. To purchase tickets, contact OHPRI Development Associate Lesley Bunnell, bunnell[email protected], 401.841.0080. Tickets will be available at the door only if the event is not sold out prior to May 1. For more information about OHPRI, visit www.OHPRI.org or contact Vice-Chair Perry Lewis at OHPRI headquarters, Buliod-Perry House, 29 Touro Street, Washington Square, Newport, R.I., 401.841.0080.

You can follow OHPRI on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ohpri.