"We practice the traditional way of doing things,” says Doug Faunt, the ship’s chief engineer. “But we do live in the modern world.”
The Perry, named after a naval war hero born here, was created so Rhode Island could have a tall ship of its own to compete in races around the world, promote the state’s marine trades, and celebrate Newport’s seagoing heritage. Like most tall ships, it’s classified as a sail-training vessel. It doesn’t take paying passengers, but will host programmes for students and adults willing to take their turn standing watch, hauling on lines, manning the helm, and helping sail the ship.
"The engines run on 20 percent biofuel", says Faunt. “They use computer control and piezo-electric injector valves for very fine fuel control,” he says. “That means high efficiency and low pollution.”
Banks of switches and lights and dials control and monitor the ship’s systems. Tucked into nooks and crannies are machines that turn salt water into fresh, along with waste processors and hydraulic systems.
All the equipment serves the same purpose: seeking adventure on the high seas. The ship will be certified to sail anywhere in the world, and Faunt says its operators hope to make the most of that capability. “We want to sail into difficult places, interesting places,” he said. “The South Pacific, the Arctic … there are no limits.”
“There’s no autopilot,” Faunt says. “Only humans can steer this ship.”
For more information visit Oliver Hazard Perry