Pilgrim incapacitated beyond repair

Published on March 29th, 2020

Dr. Wendy Marshall, President of Ocean Institute, shares heartbreaking news from Dana Point, CA:
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We are very sad to announce that Pilgrim, our beloved vessel that has served as an inspiring real-world classroom to hundreds of thousands of students and visitors, keeled overnight in her slip on our dock, rendering her useful life over.

As part of our maintenance process, Pilgrim undergoes out-of-the water and underwater inspections. In 2016 she was hauled out for survey and repairs and in October 2019, we began a fund to support the haul out and repair scheduled to take place in January 2020. The haul out was postponed until June due to overload at the yard.

Meanwhile, Ocean Institute maintained our certifications and the United States Coast Guard issued a Certificate of Inspection (COI) in December and again in February, allowing our dockside programs to continue. Unfortunately, Pilgrim keeled on March 29th and is incapacitated beyond repair.

We are sad to bid farewell to this iconic vessel which has been such an important part of Ocean Institute’s programs and to the children that they served.
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Since 1981, the Ocean Institute has showcased Pilgrim as a unique and effective floating educational platform for learners of all ages.

The Pilgrim is a full-sized replica of the merchantman brig immortalized by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. in his American seafaring classic novel Two Years Before the Mast. This historic voyage is the basis for the Ocean Institute’s Two Years Before the Mast education program.

Better days for Pilgrim.

Length on deck: 98′
Beam: 24.6′
Mainmast height: 98′
Net tonnage: 64
Built: 1945, Denmark

The original Pilgrim was built in 1825 at a cost of $50,000. Her length was a mere 90 feet compared to the average 110 feet for other vessels of the same class. The purpose of its 1834 voyage was to participate in the California cattle hide trade for her Boston owners, Bryant and Sturgis.

The Pilgrim set sail from Boston loaded with New England’s manufactured goods such as shoes, foodstuffs and ironware. When she arrived along the Alta California coast, the Pilgrim sold or traded her New England wares and procured hides from the missions and rancheros to sell back in Boston. The Pilgrim anchored several times at San Juan Bay (Dana Point).

Today’s Pilgrim started her life in 1945 as a three-masted schooner plying the Baltic coastal trade out of Denmark. In 1975, she was sailed to Lisbon, Portugal by Captain Ray Wallace, the noted marine architect, where she was converted to her present rig.

The Pilgrim entered Dana Point Harbor in September 1981, amidst tremendous community support, destined to become the Ocean Institute’s largest classroom.

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