Ship boat

The End May Be Nigh for Tacoma’s Tall Ship – SSS Odyssey – The Suburban Times

Submitted by Emily Molina.

Odyssey without mainmast at Tacoma Daffodil Parade 2022 (Ralph HItz)

Tacoma, WA – Tacoma’s Odyssey tall ship may be at the end of an illustrious 84-year history after last year’s fundraising initiatives left the outfit shorthanded.

Brink & Sadler

The historic 90-foot Sparkman & Stephens wooden sailing ship was built in 1938 at the Nevins shipyard in New York.

Requisitioned by the United States Navy during WWII and renamed USS Saluda – the ship remained in the Navy before coming to Tacoma as a training ship in 1978 for Sea Scout Ship 190 – where it has been ever since.

Operating under Pacific Harbors Council – Boy Scouts of America and Coast Guard regulations, the co-ed program teaches leadership, responsibility and life skills through tall ships to youth ages 14-21 across the Puget Sound area.

“Odyssey’s size makes it a truly unique boating experience,” said Shana Curd, founding board chair of Friends of Odyssey, parent of alumni and former skipper. “The young crew learns to steer and manage a 90-foot sailboat, which is no small task, even for adults. They exceed all expectations and their love for the boat is evident in the way the crew has grown, even though they are temporarily unable to sail.

Edward Jones - Bart Dalton

Tacoma’s Tall Ship – Odyssey (Mr. Hoogstede)

With the charter season shut down by Covid and the removal of the original 105ft Sitka spruce mast soon after, the group tried to raise funds and locate quality spar timber for the project – to save both the ship and the program.

A non-profit organization called Friends of Odyssey was founded last December, where tax-deductible donations can be made, as well as a Go Fund Me account.

With a private donor behind the scenes and a pledge of $160,000 to cover the cost of the mast, the group must find $80,000 to secure the pledge and pay for the drydock where the mast installation would be completed.

“To support the restoration of Odyssey, Friends of Odyssey was asked to raise $300,000 in the first year. With a pledge of $160,000 pending and funds already available, we are only $80,000 away from saving the boat! The catch is that the commitment is contingent on us raising the $80,000 by Friday, August 19. It would be a real loss for Tacoma and the Puget Sound sailing community if this incredible vessel could not be saved,” Curd said.

Pierce College

With a deadline of this week, will SSS Odyssey succeed or is it the end of more than eight decades of history for Tacoma’s tall ship?