oliver hazard-perry

Remembering Loved Ones While Helping Build a School Ship

Lucy Aldrich Burr Donates to Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island; Binnacle to be Named in Father’s Honor

Winthrop Williams Aldrich and wife Harriet (photo courtesy of Lucy Aldrich Burr) NEWPORT, R.I. (May 4, 2011) – Winthrop Williams  Aldrich’s spirit will be forever present aboard Rhode Island’s Education at Sea tall ship, SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, through his daughter Lucy Aldrich Burr’s (Mystic, Conn.) generous donation of $15,000 to the non-profit Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island’s (OHPRI) mission to bring experiential learning to students of all ages.  “Lucy Burr’s donation has come at a critical time in the construction phase,” said Bart Dunbar, chairman of OHPRI.  “We have just completed the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) inspections and certification as built to date, and now we’re ready to begin cutting steel to finish the hull and move her back to Newport for rigging and final fitting out,” said Dunbar.  “We are very grateful for Lucy Burr’s donation and every donation that we receive, and we welcome the community to get involved in the building of this ship.”

According to Dunbar, the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s binnacle (which houses the compass on the ship) will be named in Winthrop Williams Aldrich’s honor.  A renaissance man, Aldrich enjoyed painting and music, finding much inspiration in the seascapes that surrounded him during summers spent on the water in Rhode Island.  In 1930, Aldrich sailed as navigator aboard Enterprise, defender in the 14th America’s Cup, and in 1931 he served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club.  “OHPRI is an organization that my father would absolutely love,” said Lucy Burr.  “He was very proud of Rhode Island – he used the state anchor as his first signal flag – and I know that if he could contribute to one success in this state it would be this school ship.” 

Winthrop Williams Aldrich was well known for his successful professional life as well.  From 1930 to 1953 he was president and chairman of the board of Chase National Bank and also in 1953 was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Eisenhower after being recognized as a key player in the British War Relief Society (a U.S. humanitarian organization that brought aid to the British throughout World War II).  “There is so much history in Rhode Island,” said Dunbar.  “Stories like this one remind us of how important it is to give back and commemorate the heritage of our ancestors.” 

Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island’s Rendering of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry (image credit to Paul Fuchs on behalf of OHPRI)The hull of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is currently at Promet Marine Services in Providence, and with the help of donors such as Lucy Burr, OHPRI can complete construction. Once the deck, masts, rigging, sails and electronics have been added, SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will sail as a 230’ (sparred length), three-masted, square rigger: the largest privately owned tall ship in America.

Involvement with OHPRI is multifaceted and the organization welcomes contributions at many levels, including a popular Plank Owner program for donors of $1,000 or more.  There are currently 175 Plank Owners of the SSV Oliver Hazard PerryOther ways to become involved include donation of goods and services from the marine trades industry and donations of private sailing and power yachts.  On Friday, May 6, OHPRI will host “Building the Ship,” a reception and auction from which all proceeds will go toward the construction of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and the development of its at-sea educational programs.

For more information or to contribute to the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry project, visit www.OHPRI.org or contact Vice-Chair Perry Lewis at OHPRI headquarters, Buliod-Perry House, 29 Touro Street, Washington Square, Newport, R.I., 401-841-0080.