Have you ever dreamed of learning to sail the seven seas aboard an old-time tall ship, complete with wood masts, rope ladders, custom-made sails—and modern-day Cat® engines? Then step aboard Oliver Hazard Perry, which is just about ready to set sail from Newport, Rhode Island.
“It’s a traditional-looking vessel from the outside, but inside it’s a modern vessel purpose built for education,” says Jessica Wurzbacher, the ship’s executive director. “It’s a interesting contrast between the old and the new.”
“A Life-Changing Experience”
Named after a United States Navy Commodore who was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, in 1785, Oliver Hazard Perry is a 200-foot-long, three-masted sailing vessel that will join a select fleet of just more than 70 Class A tall ships around the world. Classified as a “sail-training vessel,” it does not carry any passengers, but rather students and professional crew.
“We have a full crew aboard right now getting the vessel equipped for sea trials and summer camp programs for students,” Wurzbacher says. “Then we plan to host sail-training programs with local universities and high schools. In the winter months, the ship will head down to Florida and the Caribbean to host a full-credit semester program for high school students.”
On board, students of all ages will learn how to navigate, set the sails, maintain the ship, and live and work together as a team—basically, everything they need to know to function as effective crew members.
“This is the first full-rigged ocean-going ship built in the U.S. in a hundred years,” says Doug Faunt, Oliver Hazard Perry’s first engineer. “We’re exposing kids and young people to something that can be a life-changing experience. You live and work in a self-contained environment, where you have to learn teamwork. These are skills that are applicable to careers on shore as well as at sea.”
Reliable Power and Parts—Anywhere in the World
While it’s at sea, Oliver Hazard Perry will run mostly by sail. Engines will provide power during storms or emergency situations, when the ship is navigating in and out of port and anytime the wind isn’t blowing in the right direction.
According to Faunt and chief engineer Dan Luglio, reliability is critical—and that’s why they’re thrilled that local dealer Milton Cat provided two Cat C12 Engines for propulsion and a C2.2 Generator Set for emergency and backup power.
“I’ve worked on other vessels with Cat engines, and I’ve always found them to be robust,” Luglio says. “They’re easy to work on with a minimal amount of tools, which is important in a ship environment.”
The Cat engines offer other advantages, too, the engineers say—most notably remote starts from the helm and the ability to run on 20% biodiesel with minimal horsepower loss. Parts availability is another key benefit.
“No matter where in the world we go, we should have access to the parts we need,” Luglio says.
The crew of Oliver Hazard Perry will rely on Milton Cat for any major maintenance and repair work as well—and they’re confident in the dealer’s ability to keep them sailing smoothly.
“Milton Cat’s been very generous, not just with the favorable pricing of the engines, but with anything we’ve needed,” Luglio says. “They’ve bent over backwards for us.”