Schooner Ruth Launch

Posted on January 28, 2015 · Posted in SV Ruth Updates

Although many of our interested followers are already aware, SV Ruth has wonderfully exciting news – she is launched and in the water! As of Saturday, December 6th, 2014, we can officially say that she floats!

schooner-ruth-bolg-jan-28-2015-001The excitement began the previous afternoon when the 100’ steel schooner was pulled out onto the beach on the large, 18-wheeled trailer that had held her for nearly 12 years. A small crowed watched with anticipation as the vessel and the launch project took life for the first time. As she inched along the gravel & sand, it is safe to say that some people could not believe their eyes. “They’re actually doing it!” For the three persons onboard – Project Foreman Owen DaSilva, Master Rigger Sean Parsonage and Captain Danielle Doggett, the experience was unforgettable.

The launch day was a massive success. A vast crowd of well-wishers joined together on Browne’s Beach; stretching from the scuba-shack buildings and bars and flowing ceaselessly deep into the water, transforming from late-comers arriving in the car-park at the top of the road, to those who had set up camp on the nearby boats hauled out for repairs, youngsters atop mountains of sand, to VIPs and ministers seated in the pavilion, into swimmers and kayakers eager to see the event from a different perspective. It became clear just how important this project has been to the people of Barbados.

After a number of supportive and heartfelt speeches were given in the VIP Pavilion – including one by Director of SV Ruth, Mr. Ian Dash – it was time. For the ten people onboard that day, the excitement was about to begin. Pulled seaward by the large tugboat ‘Barbados II’, she began to roll down the incline of the sand and into the water. The angle of the brow of the beach at the waters edge had been reduced that morning, but as the ship passed the greatest incline, it was still steep enough to cause the crew to grab hold of anything firmly attached to the ship – though some of the crew remember Mr. Dash charging forward, gaining the bow with all the vigor of the day!

schooner-ruth-bolg-jan-28-2015-002The ship continued, deeper into the crystal clear, bright blue waters of Carlisle Bay. The tugboat was smooth and controlled, not over-powering the pace of entry as she easily could have. When the stern-tube and through-hulls entered the sea, we found with great relief (not at all disbelief) that she was water-tight. Check. The Captain sparked the engine, which started without hesitation. Check. Then, without so much as a shudder or a bump, SV Ruth was floating. The crowd exploded into cheering & applause. Those at the bow called aft “We’re free of the cradle!” This galvanized those at the stern into action – engine in gear; spot the surrounding swimmers, kayakers, boaters, buoys and the great, half sunken tow-rope which was directly across our path; start to move.

Gliding through the water, headed out to the open water just outside of the bay, was incredible. The band onboard played a happy tune and all were smiling. Our escort – or rather entourage – helped guide the way over to the Shallow Draft Harbour, where the vessel came alongside for the first time. As the event came to a close it became obvious that this was a first, large step into the new life of this sailing cargo vessel, and for the sailing cargo movement that is now taking shape in the Caribbean.

Thank you so much to all who participated in the Launch of Schooner Ruth.