Nauticus to Purchase Schooner Virginia
The Norfolk City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a plan for the Nauticus Foundation to buy the schooner Virginia. Under the proposed plan, Virginia would be docked next to the battleship Wisconsin and used for educational programming.
Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center that explores the naval, economic, and nautical power of the sea, is run by the city of Norfolk and supported by the nonprofit Nauticus Foundation. It is home to the Battleship Wisconsin and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. Using a $1 million state grant to cover the purchase of the schooner and seed a fund for future maintenance and repairs, Nautilus plans to use Virginia as part of Sail Nauticus, a program that gives underprivileged children around Hampton Roads access to the water.
The program teaches kids about character and teamwork, and builds science and math skills.
A reproduction of the last all sail vessel built for the Virginia Pilot Association, Virginia was built in Norfolk between 2002 and 2004, and sailed for the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation as an educational platform. She has sailed up and down the Atlantic coast, as well as to international destinations such as Trinidad, Bermuda, and Prince Edward Island. A reduction in state funding for the program made it increasingly difficult for the VMHF to meet operating costs, and the organization put the schooner up for sale last year.