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Tall-ship construction fundraiser on tap

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 from 6:30-9 p.m. May 17 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 and was 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.

As of January, the non-profit 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 development associate Lesley Bunnell,, (401) 841-0080. Tickets will be available at the door only if event is not sold out prior to May 1.