Galveston Historical Foundation Initiates Second Restoration Of 1877 Elissa, Official Tall Ship Of Texas
For a ship with over 135 years of unmatched maritime history, the 1877 ELISSA will begin her second official restoration on September 10th at Bollinger Shipyard in Texas City, Texas. For the next two to three months, the Official Tall Ship of Texas, owned and operated by Galveston Historical Foundation, will have hull repair work done in preparation for her return to active sailing in early 2013.
One of the world’s longest running commercial ships, the three masted square rigged barque was the recent recipient of $1.4 million dollars of FEMA funding due to electrolytic corrosion stemming from Hurricane Ike in 2008. Federal officials concluded in 2012 that the corrosion found on her hull during a mandated 2011 dry docking was due to a stray electrical current and a microbial corrosive that attacked the iron plates of the ship’s hull.
“The FEMA assistance goes a long way to making ELISSA whole again following Hurricane Ike.” Dwayne Jones, Executive Director of GHF states. “With this boost, Galveston Historical Foundation can seek additional private, corporate and foundation support to Keep ELISSA Sailing. We look forward to seeing ELISSA sailing in March 2013 in the Gulf of Mexico. She’s a treasure for Galveston and the Houston region, the state and the entire nation.”
As she has done for decades, ELISSA will offer a one-of-a-kind educational experience on the challenges of maintaining a National Historic Landmark in the Texas Gulf Coast environment. Representatives of the United States Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping will be on hand during the repair work to document the technical aspects, many of which are being studied for the first time, and to use this information for another generation of maritime preservationists.
In addition to the upcoming hull repairs, the ship’s decking will be replaced and a new set of sails will be installed. All restoration work is expected to be finished in June for the 2013 Plankowners’ Syndicate Party and Auction, one of the ship’s largest fundraisers. Deck replacement will halt in March of 2013 as the Tall Ship returns to the waters of the Gulf for scheduled day sails and then resume with a completion date in early June 2013.
ELISSA is supported by a passionate group of volunteers who undergo an intense training program to sail the historic ship. These volunteers have continued to train during 2011 and 2012 while she was unable to leave dock in anticipation for this resumption of day sails.
Jamie White, Director of the Texas Seaport Museum says, “The announcement of FEMA funding for repairing the electrolytic damage to the hull of ELISSA is welcomed news. Galveston Historical Foundation and the ELISSA volunteers have done a yeoman’s job in maintaining this fine vessel and now with the FEMA funds, as a fine start to raising the additional funding the vessel needs, we can look forward to the day when ELISSA spreads her wings of canvas over the waters of the Gulf again.”
Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA, an 1877 square rigged iron barque, from a scrap yard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. By 1982, GHF staff and volunteers completed restoration and transformed this rare, historic vessel into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark and a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a sea port and active waterfront.