For Captain Sean S. Bercaw, captaining the 2015 day sails of the Official Tall Ship of Texas will require a little extra work. In addition to his oversight as captain of the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, he will also present a special presentation on his experience as Second Mate aboard the Charles W. Morgan on her New England grand tour. The presentation will be held Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pier 21 Theater at Pier 21 and Harborside. Seating is limited. Tickets are $25, and can be reserved by clicking here or calling 409-763-1877 ext. 1108.



“Captain Bercaw is a natural sailor and sage and we are so fortunate to have him as the captain of the official tall ship of Texas. I want to encourage everyone to attend his presentation on sailing the last remaining wooden whale ship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan, launched in 1841,”explains Jamie White, Director of Galveston Historical Foundation’s Texas Seaport Museum. “Through beautiful images and prose, Captain Bercaw will relate to the audience what it was like sailing in the wake of Moby Dick with the intention of helping, not hunting, the leviathans of the deep.”

After a five year refit which included using wood from trees blown down in Hurricane Ike, the Morgan was sailed for the first time in 93 years. Guests will explore with Sean the surprises and the discoveries, from the nimbleness of the ship to the sheer audacity of rowing up to a 40-foot whale with a 28-foot whaleboat. Through photos of the 38th voyage you’ll have the opportunity to share in this historic event, one that has many parallels to the ELISSA and the Port of Galveston.

At the height of the whaling industry, there were almost 700 American whaling vessels plying the high seas, today there’s one left. She’s the whaleship Charles W. Morgan and her active whaling ended in 1921 following an 80 year career,” says Bercaw. “After a stint in New Bedford, Massachusetts she was moved down to Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut in November 1941, just weeks before the beginning of WW II.  For the last 73 years she’s resided as the Museum’s most valuable artifact, telling the history of the whaling industry but too precious to be sailed…until last summer.”


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.

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