Alan Olson, Executive Director of the non-profit Educational Tall Ship recently welcomed over 200 local supporters to a black tie, sit-down fundraising dinner at the base of a massive wooden ship frame – the “bones” of the tall ship Matthew Turner.
The gala event was held in the ship’s huge construction tent on Marinship Way in Sausalito, with the skeleton of the 132-foot schooner looming above dinner guests who were sipping champagne, listening to an elegant classical musical ensemble perform.
It was a milestone for the major maritime project, which began in 2010. The first schooner to be built in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 100 years, the Matthew Turner will be an experiential, floating classroom for children of all ages, based in Sausalito and sailing the SF Bay and California coast. Over $4 million has been raised towards completing the project and $2.2 million is still needed – for masts, rigging, sails, steering, propulsion, navigation systems and much more Construction began in 2013 and should be complete by 2016.
The Art of Ship Building
Ship building, especially along the Sausalito waterfront, is rapidly becoming a lost art, so the Matthew Turner project brings renewed interest and focus to this vanishing nautical art. Inspired by and modeled after the 19th century Brigantine “Galilee” that once sailed the San Francisco Bay, the Matthew Turner is named after master mariner and builder Matthew Turner who built 228 seafaring vessels over 40 years in the Bay Area. The current construction is being orchestrated by Tri-Coastal Marine, one of the pre-eminent designers of wooden tall ships in the U.S.
The project blends old-world technology with 21st century sustainable building and operational technologies, including an electric propulsion system that regenerates electricity while sailing and eco-friendly materials. On any given day, dozens of volunteers are laboring with love at the construction site, including volunteer teams from Google and other Bay Area corporations who donate their time. It is truly a lesson in, and celebration of, maritime history and well worth a visit. For more details to go educationaltallship.org