The beautiful 126’ VIRGINIA, a re-creation of the last Virginia pilot schooner that sailed the Chesapeake Bay, is curtailing her sailing season and returning to Hampton Roads in August and will be put
on the market for sale.
The board of directors of the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation, owners, and operators of the Schooner VIRGINIA, have announced that revenue from current operations and other sources has proven inadequate to support her current operating model and the resources required to sail the vessel appear unsustainable over the long term.
VIRGINIA conducts educational and sail training programs for youth and adults, appears at maritime-related festivals, and offers day-sail opportunities during port calls which have included Norfolk, Cape Charles,
Deltaville, Alexandria, New London, CT, Provincetown MA, Portland ME, and Newport, RI. She recently received excellent publicity during a recent round-trip voyage to Bermuda with the students onboard posting a daily blog of their experiences.
The Foundation receives no state or federal funding. Aside from appearance fees and day-sail income, the sailing program must rely on paid bookings and donations from individuals and organizations that recognize and support the educational value of the tall ship experience for young people. Those donations have allowed the foundation to award either full or partial scholarships to 40% of the young people participating in her programs this year.
Reservation deposits or paid bookings made for voyages after mid-August have been held in reserve and will be returned within the next 10 days. The ship will complete its standing program commitments through August 10 before returning to Norfolk. The vessel is fully crewed by qualified professional personnel and all Coast Guard inspections and safety criteria are current. Further updates will be posted as available at schoonervirginia.org.
The foundation owes a large debt of gratitude to a faithful corps of volunteers who performed routine maintenance and inspections during her period of inactivity, and to the City of Norfolk, Nauticus,
FestEvents, and the Virginia Ship Repair Association, several of whose members provided in-kind support and maintenance that were crucial to her re-activation in 2012 for OpSail 2012 and for her on-going
programs since then.