She’s young, strong, fast, and good looking. Her name is Kaisei and she needs a job. Soon. Kaisei is a 150 foot steel brigantine. We came across her and her caretaker/engineer while strolling along San Diego’s embarcadero on a Saturday afternoon in early February.
Kaisei used to sail out of Yokahoma Japan as a youth training ship. Apparently the Japanese decided they didn’t need her services anymore so last year she changed hands. Her new owner Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Company in Sausalito runs a world wide business of putting yachts in charter. Her fleet of client boats for whom she finds business includes sleek ocean going beauties, mega yachts, historic gaffers, and replicas of same. But Ms. Crowley hasn’t apparently found anyone lately who wants to charter Kaisei.
“She’s a boat in need of a mission” says her caretaker who also serves as her engineer. He told us that Ms Crowley hoped that Kaisei who has been around the world a number of times would be able to set sail on another lengthy voyage manned by a crew of volunteers to resume the task of introducing dreamers and doers alike to the amazing offshore world of the square rigged ship. (A website of an organization in Hawaii www.saveourseas.org states that she stopped in there for a short stay during the first leg of a voyage dedicated to a global peace keeping mission to promote ocean conservation and awareness and a foreign exchange youth sailing program. )
Kaisei was built in Poland in 1991 and was one of five vessels specifically designed and built by the yard for youth training. She’s well outfitted and well kept and can provide the creature comforts expected by modern day windjammer sailors such as electric heat and air conditioning. She has a hefty bow thruster to help maneuvering in and out of tight spots and a big Yanmar for her main engine. She has an 8000 mile range under power her caretaker told us. Her masts are steel and her running rigging and sails are of modern strong synthetic materials.
She’s been lying along the embarcadero next to the maritime museum since last summer while her owner tries to find her a job. At a 150 dollars a day for dockage plus wages for the ship keeper, she’s not exactly a cheap proposition to have on the books. And the engineer/caretaker, an old salt of many voyages, told us he’s getting a little tired of chasing the street people off her and picking trash off her decks. One of the street people likes to steal keys so he’s a particular pain. He’s very sneaky. He thinks he’s the captain and he got on board the other day and tried to start the engine.(He couldn’t do so without access to the engine room but these periodic intrusions are still a bit exasperating).
Kaisei has to move on from her berth in downtown San Diego by April, we were told because the museum has a submarine coming in that needs the spot. She needs a crew to take her off to sea. Like any vessel, large or small, the best way to keep her in shape is to use her. “No one wants to go on an adventure anymore. There’s no place in the world for these ships now” said her caretaker sadly.
How about it folks? Anyone out there want to help her with her task of global peace keeping between us and the environment and different nationalities? Here’s a link to Mary Crowley’s website www.oceanvoyages.com and look for the link there for Kaisei and a photo of her under full sail. Take a moment to look and to dream. And if you know anybody with some serious numbers in their bank account who might want to go, tell them about her too.