Ship Oliver Hazard Perry

Rhode Island’s Education at Sea Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry:
Renowned Sailors Ken Read and Jerry Kirby Join Advisory Board

Local sailors Ken Read (right) and Jerry Kirby (both Newport, R.I.) have joined the Board of Advisors for Rhode Island’s education at sea tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry. NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 16, 2010) – Representing a vote of confidence from the sailing world, Ken Read and Jerry Kirby (both of Newport, R.I.) have joined the Board of Advisors for Rhode Island’s education at sea tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry.  Read and Kirby, considered two of the world’s most accomplished American sailors, believe in the significant impact the school ship will have on generations of young people as it continues to build over the next few years and then sails as a 207-foot three-masted, square rigger--the largest, privately owned, active tall ship in America. 

“The Oliver Hazard Perry project is quite simply something that Rhode Island desperately needs,” said Read, who has sailed in two Volvo Ocean Races (steering Team Puma to second in the 2008/2009 event) and is a veteran of three America’s Cups, twice a Rolex Yachtsman of the Year (1985, 1995) and has over 40 World, North American and National Championships to his credit in a variety of classes, including the J/24 and Etchells 22.  “It is a living, breathing education program focused on the oceans of the world. I will work to bring some experience to the project based on my years of sailing and working in the marine industry.”

Kirby, who crewed for Read aboard Team Puma and has sailed in six America’s Cups, three around-the-world races, at least a dozen Bermuda Races, and more than a half-dozen Transpac races, added, “It speaks volumes to the maritime heritage here in Rhode Island and gives us a platform to develop unique educational experiences for school kids.”

Bart Dunbar, Chair of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI), re-iterated that it is only with the help of OHPRI supporters and a multitude of marine trades businesses that the hull of the ship, which is currently at Promet Marine Services in Providence, R.I., will be modified and a deck, masts, rigging, sails and electronics added.  “The success of the education at sea tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry relies on the generosity and enthusiasm of hundreds of individuals and businesses. Having Ken and Jerry aboard gives us a link to the world of sailors who know what the programs on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry can do for Rhode Island schools and their students.”

The ship is named for Newport's War of 1812 naval hero Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Once completed in 2012, the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will be owned and operated for the people of Rhode Island by OHPRI. She will be based in Newport, serve America and sail the world as an ambassador of Rhode Island.

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