September 2020 View from the Quarterdeck

Ahoy Shipmates,

It is hard to believe that we are well into September, with students “returning” to school, be it virtually or in person. There is a chill to the air as I write to you, and I am bundled up in my OHP sweatshirt for the first time in months.

Sunset at Ft Adams – Photo by Al Chenard


I am beyond thrilled to report that the ship was underway, under sail for the first time this year this past Saturday, with the crew conducting safety drills in advance of our upcoming annual Coast Guard inspection. It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you who commented that it was great to see her out on the bay! We have a number of underway programs coming up in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for photo ops. Our ability to meet these objectives is a testament to the dedicated crew we have working aboard this season, especially the leadership of Captain Kip Files, Chief Engineer Alex Miller, and Chief Mate Robert Wheeler.

I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Jackson Hruschka, who started with us last season as part of the rigging crew working on the foremast project and stayed on as a deckhand, winter engineer, and all around capable hand. He recently completed his Able Seafarer course, and continues to ply his talents in service to the ship. Thank you Jackson for all of your efforts on behalf of OHP!


Starting in late September we will be offering two ten week hybrid learning experiences in partnership with the MET School. One provides an overview of multiple subjects connected with the operations of a ship from navigation, to material science, and naval architecture. The other program focuses more specifically on marine engineering, with students exploring topics like electrical systems, marine propulsion, and hydraulics through digital presentations, hands on experimentation and project based learning. If you know of a school or school system that would be interested in exploring programming partnerships, please contact us at

Many people have been asking where the Oliver Hazard Perry will be this coming winter. We are pleased to announce that through the generous support of David Ray-Bannister’s Wharf, PK Kilroy-Landing & Midtown Oyster Bar, and former OHPRI Chairman Bart Dunbar-Bowen’s Wharf, Rhode Island’s Flagship will once be a prominent feature of the downtown waterfront, spending the winter at Bowen’s Wharf.


Our Ask Us Anything video series has covered a range of topics from taking soundings to diesel engines, but we are particularly proud of the latest edition all about Raye Montague, in whose memory our STEAM programming is named. Ms. Montague, an African-American woman from the deep South, broke through color and gender barriers to revolutionize the US Navy’s use of computers for ship design. I encourage you to watch the video about her here. Kudos to crewmember Georgia Hilton for being the driving force behind our video series.


Most importantly, great expeditions start with the first step; epic voyages with the first miles sailed. This week, we had our first Perry Corps program participant start working aboard the ship. The Perry Corps is a revolutionary workforce development program that pairs early career awareness with skills training and credentialing to support sustainable careers, ocean literacy, and civic engagement while promoting resiliency and economic growth in Rhode Island. Learn more about the program here.

With the challenges being faced by school students at all levels, we believe that high school students in particular are at risk of being left behind as social service organizations and schools work to provide safe and structured learning environments for our youngest learners when a classroom isn’t an option. Our oldest students need exciting and innovative opportunities that keep them learning and exploring their potential as they get closer to either college or the workforce. To meet this need, we are launching an after-school version of the Perry Corps that supports both the academic work taking place at schools but also introduces fantastic career opportunities and experiences to students who would otherwise have few other structured options. We want to offer this program free of charge to 30 Aquidneck Island students from all three of our island communities. We have already raised $25,000 in pledges of support, but we still need your help. Please consider supporting this vital and important initiative with a donation.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, Board of Governors, staff, and crew, I want to personally thank you for your ongoing support of OHPRI and the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry.

Fair winds,

Captain Jonathan Kabak