Victoria sailing organization gearing up to build third tall ship

A crew member stands on the mast among the sails of the Victoria-based sailing ship and training vessel Pacific Swift

A crew member stands on the mast among the sails of the Victoria-based sailing ship and training vessel Pacific Swift

As members of the Sail and Life Training Society design their newest tall ship, they’ll keep in mind hard lessons learned by last year’s sinking of another Canadian sail-training vessel.

In Feb. 2010, the Nova Scotia-based SV Concordia sank off the coast of Brazil carrying 48 students. There were no serious injuries.

“Every time we can learn from the experiences of others, we’re eager to do that,” said Loren Hagerty, executive director of SALTS. “We’re seeking to design the safest possible vessel for its size category … and yet, it has to actually move in the water.”

Every year, the non-profit organization takes 1,700 youth on voyages ranging from five days to several months, at subsidized rates.

SALTS already has two tall ships – the Pacific Swift and Pacific Grace – but aims to add a third to keep up with demand for its programs. The hope, Hagerty said, is to begin construction on the $4.5-million, 110-foot square topsail schooner in 2012, as soon as he secures major funding partners.

Boat builders from the community will help out, he said. “They’ll want to drop everything to come and help us because there is nothing more exciting for boat builders than working on a ship like this.”

Mark your calendar

Former SALTS crew member and University of Oregon professor, Stephen Duff, will speak about the process of designing the boat and the vision for the ship. The free talk takes place Thursday (Feb. 24) at 8 p.m. in the McLaurin Building’s David Lam Auditorium at the University of Victoria.

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