Last of the Gloucestermen to be restored

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Following a decade-long campaign, a Massachusetts group says it has raised more than $2 million to restore the 80-year-old wooden schooner Adventure, and hopes to have the 122-foot vessel on the water again in 2008.

“After 10 resolute years and more than $2.3 million raised, we are pleased our community-based organization will have effectively completed renovation of the costliest portion of the project, the Adventure’s hull,” Gloucester (Mass.) Adventure Inc. president and CEO Martin Krugman says in a news release. “Once the hull is finished, we hope to get Adventure fitted out for sailing by the summer of 2008 — something she hasn’t done in nearly 13 years.”

Built in 1926 and retired in 1953, Adventure is the last of Gloucester’s Grand Bank fleet of fishing schooners called the “Gloucestermen,” immortalized in Rudyard Kipling’s “Captains Courageous,” the release says. At the time of her retirement, she was the last American dory-trawler still working in the North Atlantic.

Serving as a platform for education will be her next mission.

As of March the ship’s starboard and port sides had been restored, as well as the foredeck and stern and quarterdeck substructures. After she returns to the water, Adventure will be designated as the city of Gloucester’s official flagship vessel.

When restoration work is complete, the Adventure group plans to use the boat as an active resource for environmental and multidisciplinary programs. The idea is, according to the release, to bring together fishermen, marine scientists, environmental activists and policy makers to help find a balance between the ecological needs of North Atlantic fisheries and the economic needs of coastal fishing communities.

Over the last decade, members of the Adventure group were able to raise the $2.3 million through grants and numerous private donations, the release says. Some of the grants include a $247,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service, a $250,000 allocation from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and $250,000 in preservation grants from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

To make a donation to the “Save the Adventure” campaign or to volunteer, call (978) 281-8079, or go to www.schooner-adventure.org.