Thursday, October 29, 2015

Naval Academy Commissions Donated Schooner

The Naval Academy Sailing Center commissioned the donated schooner SummerWind in a ceremony Oct. 28 at the Robert Crown Sailing Center.

The Naval Academy's donated schooner, the SummerWind

SummerWind is a 1929 model 100-foot John G. Alden Schooner and was donated by James Grundy of Oxford, Md.

At the academy she will be used by the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team and by the Off Shore Training Squadron during summer training blocks. SummerWind can hold 12 midshipmen along with a skipper and an executive officer vice the Navy 44’s which hold eight midshipmen, a skipper, and an XO.

MIDN 1/C Alex Cinq Mars christens USNA's donated schooner
with the traditional bottle of champagne.

After long service as a privately owned vessel and commercial charter craft both stateside and abroad, SummerWind was purchased in Spain in 2006 and transported to Palm Beach, Fla., where a massive restoration was undertaken.  

Almost entirely replanked, every structural element was evaluated and either restored or replaced, her engineering systems redesigned, and her sailing rig updated.  The total cost of the restoration is rumored to have been in excess of $8 million.

In most every way SummerWind is a museum piece, the finest example of a classic schooner. However, she is also, in all probability, the “newest” 1929 vessel afloat due not only to her extensive rebuild and modernization of equipment from 2006-2009, but also to continuing meticulous care and upgrades, including replacement of the entire rig (both masts and booms) in carbon fiber by Grundy.

The Naval Academy's donated schooner, the SummerWind

She was chartered to the Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 for three years. The craft was used extensively for sail training of midshipmen in various events: racing events, local navigation training, overnight and offshore voyages and indoctrination training of first-year midshipmen.

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