America's newest tall ship now docked in Fort Lauderdale

$18 million SSV Oliver Hazard Perry took 6 years to complete

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Your chance to relive the past is now docked at Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

After getting permission to board, Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen climbed up the rope ladder and toured the majestic SSV Oliver Hazard Perry.

It took six years and $18 million to build America's newest tall ship. Many parts were actually donated, including the 127-foot tall masts.

"So the lower masts, these are steel tube sections and they are actually donated Texas oil pipe," Capt. David Dawes said.

The ship is a Coast Guard-certified school sailing vessel, so there are no passengers. Instead, they are called trainees.

"They are doing everything from galley duty, to steering, to emergency duties. So very, very hands on. Even going up and falling sails in heavy weather," Dawes said.

Named after famed Rhode Islander Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who won a decisive battle against the British in 1812 in the War of Independence, the ship feels like living history.

The ship had been sailing to Cuba this past winter, but soon they will be partnering with Florida International University to go on an arctic exploration.

A small navigation shack protects the ship's high-tech electronics, but navigating the ship is all old school.

Dawes said the ship can sail about 8 knots, but the metal-hulled frigate has back up.

"Two main caterpillar diesel engines for propulsion, and then two John Deere generators," Dawes said.

A permanent crew of 15 is always working to maintain the tall ship, but don't feel too bad for them as no one is getting scurvy.

"For lunch, we are having pork loin and roasted sweet potatoes with broccoli and green beans," Dawes said.

This is the ship's third season afloat.

Explorers who have sailed on the tall ship said it is an experience of a lifetime.