Women’s history vessel Felicity Ann calls at Gig Harbor June 27th
Part of her "Victory Lap" debut voyage
The wooden boat sailed by the first woman to make a single-handed Atlantic crossing in 1952-53, is sailing into Gig Harbor on Wednesday, June 27th.
The visit is part of Felicity Ann’s “Victory Lap” debut voyage around the Salish Sea with an all-women crew.
The newly relaunched vessel is calling at eight ports over three weeks (June 15-July 7) to share her “floating story”: Port Ludlow, Edmonds, Poulsbo, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Gig Harbor, Bainbridge, and Seattle’s Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union for the Fourth of July.
The historic sloop is captained by Nahja Chimenti of Marrowstone Island, who grew up in a family of tall-ship sailors and sailmakers and earned her master’s license at the age of 18.
The public is invited down to the Jerisich Public Dock to view Felicity Ann, which was recently restored at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding and is now homeported in Port Hadlock, Wash., under the care of the Community Boat Project, a maritime educational nonprofit organization.
Crew members will be on hand to facilitate below-decks tours and answer questions during formal “open hours” from 10:00-noon and 3:00-6:00 p.m.
At 6:00 p.m. the Harbor History Museum hosts an hour-long presentation on Felicity Ann as part of its Humanities in the Harbor lecture series. The Community Boat Project’s Shelly Randall shares a slideshow detailing the adventurous life of Felicity Ann's record-breaking sailor, Ann Davison (1914-1992), and how her boat ended up in Port Hadlock to begin a new life as a sailing platform to inspire and empower us all—but especially women and girls.
“I am honored to be Felicity Ann’s ‘storykeeper,’” says Randall. “I know you will be inspired by her story, which is a reminder of how far women have come since the 1950s when Ann broke cultural norms and broke a record in the process.”
Davison, an Englishwoman, was inducted into the Single-Handed Sailors’ Hall of Fame at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island, as the first woman to solo any major ocean.
Felicity Ann’s keel was laid in 1939 in Cornwall, England. Her construction was interrupted by World War II, but she was launched in 1949 and soon after purchased by Davison for her Atlantic attempt. Felicity Ann is a classic double-ender, and with a length of only 23 feet overall and no standing room, seems amazingly small for an ocean crossing. In fact, Davison’s memoir of her voyage is titled My Ship Is So Small—a line from the Breton fisherman’s prayer, “Oh, Lord, have mercy. Thy sea is so vast and my ship is so small.”
These words are carved on Felicity Ann’s new tiller, just one example of the detail and care put into her restoration.
With the efforts of hundreds of students, volunteers and professional craftspeople, Felicity Ann was re-launched in Port Townsend on May 1, her hull immersed in salt water for the first time in decades.
“We added 1,000 pounds of lead to her hold, hoisted her new suit of sails, and she passed her sea trials with flying colors,” says Capt. Chimenti. “Now we are excited to introduce her to the region.”
The Victory Lap voyage is proudly sponsored by Kitsap Bank, whose long history in this region includes leadership by the first woman bank president west of the Mississippi. Coincidentally, the bank’s Hannah Langer was elected president in 1952, the same year Ann Davison set out to cross the Atlantic from the other side of “the pond.”
View the schedule of dockside open hours and slideshow presentations, and learn more at www.FelicityAnn.org.
Shelly Randall, Felicity Ann Coordinator/Storykeeper, Community Boat Project
Wayne Chimenti, Director, Community Boat Project