Replica of schooner ship America sailing into Greenport

06/08/2016 6:00 AM |

America

An exciting piece of sailing history is docking in Greenport this week.

A replica of the schooner ship America, which won the first-ever America’s Cup race in 1851, will spend Thursday and Friday, June 9 and 10, in the village as part of its cross-country tour.

“It’s a really special opportunity to see the ship come to shore,” said Ian Wile, chairman of the East End Seaport Museum and Maritime Foundation.

The America’s Cup, which originated as a race between an American and British yacht, is the oldest international sporting trophy. In 1851, the ship America won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Pound Cup, which became the America’s Cup under the New York Yacht Club. The competition expanded in 1970 to include multiple challengers.

Mr. Wile said Troy Sears, America’s current captain, contacted the museum specifically to see if they were interested in having the ship dock in Greenport during its North American tour, which stops in large shipping towns across the United States and Canada.

“We’ll make the most out of their visit while they are here,” said Mr. Wile, who added that the event is particularly special because the ship may never again return to the East End.

Depending on weather conditions, the ship was expected to dock at Greenport’s eastern pier either late Wednesday night, June 8, or Thursday, June 9. While its arrival time is unclear, Mr. Wile said it would be wonderful if a crowd welcomed the ship and its crew. Visitors can tour the vessel for free on Thursday from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“We are able to do that because of the generosity of the town in understanding of this special opportunity,” Mr. Wile said, noting that Greenport Village waived the ship’s dock fee.

Guests will also get a chance to take a small trip on America. The first sail will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $85 and should be purchased in advance, Mr. Wile said. The trips will last for about two and a half hours and ticket revenue goes to the ship and its crew.

An exhibit now on view at East End Seaport Museum gives people a chance to learn more about the America’s Cup. Mr. Sears will deliver a presentation about the ship and the Cup at 7 p.m. Thursday as part of the museum’s Art and Culture series. Meanwhile, a tour of the ship is trying to be arranged for local students for 8 a.m. Friday. Those plans are still being sorted out, Mr. Wile said, and if they fall through, the time slot will be available for open tours.

Another open tour will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday. At 5 p.m., the vessel will once again set sail with ticket-paying guests.

Mr. Wile said having the ship dock at the village during the week as opposed to the weekend is beneficial, since the area will be less crowded, making it easier for locals to participate in the festivities.

He added that “the America’s Cup that took place in the ‘30s does have a connection to this area.” Mr. Wile said a number of families have ancestors who were crew members for the America’s Cup in the 1930s, a time when the New York Yacht club was consistently defending its title.

Mr. Wile is asking anyone with a related artifact dating to the 1930s to share it with the museum for its exhibit. Tickets for ship rides are available for purchase at eastendseaport.org/calendar-of-events/.

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Schedule:

Thursday, June 9

Tours: 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Sailing: 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Presentation by Captain Troy Sears: 7 p.m. at the East End Seaport Museum

Friday, June 10

Student tours: 8 a.m.

Tours: 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Sailing: 5 to 7:30 p.m.

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