Michigan Maritime Museum

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SOUTH HAVEN, MI — Aspiring sailors can learn how to sail on an 1810-replica tall ship in South Haven this spring.

Volunteer sailors can spend two weekends learning traditional sailing on the 1810 merchant ship replica Friends Good Will, built by the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, the company said in a news release.

The museum is hosting basic seamanship training April 23-24 and May 21-22.

The two-weekend training will include classroom and on-water instruction to teach seasmanship skills, sail handling, setting sails and an introduction to the tall ship, the release said.

After training is complete, volunteers can sail throughout the summer with seasoned volunteers and staff. An individual who has gone through the training can sail up to four times a day, seven days a week, the release said.

“We look forwards to bringing new volunteers to our tall ship each season,” said Captain Bob Harnish, commander of the museum’s fleet. “This is a great opportunity to learn traditional sailing on a traditionally rigged ship and share the history of Michigan’s maritime heritage.”

The Michigan Maritime Museum, located at 260 Dyckman Ave., is current closed amid ongoing renovations, and expects to reopen for summer 2020. The museum’s full on-water fleet will offer rides, tickets for which can be booked online, starting on Memorial Day weekend, according to the museum’s website.

In addition to the Friends Good Will, the museum’s fleet in South Haven also features the electric-powered replica river launch boat Lindy Lou, the 1941 Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat once featured in a Disney film and the 4-passenger 1929 Chris Craft Cadet, the Merry Time.

The original Friends Good Will, the design of which the museum’s 2004-built replica was based, was a topsail sloop built at River Rouge in 1810 for use as a merchant vessel. Chartered by the federal government in 1812 to bring military supplies to a fort near present-day Chicago, but was captured by the British Navy in the Mackinac Island harbor. The ship was recaptured in 1813 by U.S. Commodore Oliver Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie.

Membership to the Michigan Maritime Museum is required to volunteer aboard the Friends Good Will. People must be at least 16 years old and complete both weekend trainings to be considered for the crew, the release said.

To register for the free seamanship training, email [email protected] or call 269-637-8078, extension 5.

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