The Mystic Whaler last week sailed into her new homeport, Channel Islands Harbor, where she will serve as a “floating museum.”
The replica tall ship will eventually be open to the public and show what life was like for seafarers in the 19th century. The opening date has not yet been determined.
“It’s a really wonderful platform for that,” said Capt. Christine Healy on Friday about the educational opportunities. “It’s very useful for the kids. It will involve and move them.”
The 83-foot schooner traveled approximately 5,400 nautical miles to arrive in Oxnard. Periods of severe weather hit the Mystic Whaler as she sailed from Connecticut to Florida in October.
Arrived in Fort Lauderdale on November 28, the tall ship was heaved onto a cargo ship for its voyage through the Panama Canal. The ship headed north after entering the Pacific Ocean in early December and arrived in Oxnard on January 9.
According to a Ventura County Harbor Department press release, the ship was built in 1967 in the style of a late 19th-century coastal cargo schooner. The 50-passenger boat began offering cruises from Connecticut, where it remained until it was purchased that fall.
Montecito owners Roger and Sarah Chrisman will offer tours and educational programs to educate students and the public about the history and science of maritime trade, according to the press release.
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The ship, which will be renamed the Mystic Cruzar, will also regularly visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, according to the announcement. The Chrismans could not be reached for comment.
While in Connecticut, the ship competed in several maritime festivals, including the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Though the Mystic Whaler didn’t win either race, Healy said he’s holding his own.
Running the 118 nautical miles from Baltimore, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia, Healy first saw the ship at the age of 19.
Healy, now 42, said she competed in the race almost every year and got to know the ship and its captains.
“It was almost like going home and coming to this boat,” Healy said of joining the ship in October.
Channel Islands Ports Director Michael Tripp said the ship will spend the next few months in a public dock while the crew transfers the ship to its new home.
The Mystic Whaler is currently moored behind the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, where its 110-foot sails soar over passing boats.
Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at [email protected] or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter at @BrianVarela805.