ST. PETERSBURG — Under the Skyway and into Tampa Bay, the tall ship Lynx arrived this week to its new winter home in St. Pete.
“This is a true spectacle to people and they really are blown away by it,” said Captain Alex Peacock.
The 122-foot replica Baltimore Clipper will be an attraction on the downtown St. Pete waterfront when it docks in December near the history museum in Vinoy Basin.
“This community is very passionate about traditional sailing and there’s been a gap,” said Peacock. “The Bounty was St. Pete’s boat for a long time and you come in many years later and it’s like reintroducing that passion to the community.”
For Captain Peacock, the voyage from Lynx’s summer home in Nantucket to Tampa Bay is a homecoming of sorts. As a kid, his first memory of sailing ships was aboard the Bounty at the St. Pete Pier. Now he hopes the Lynx will inspire a whole new generation.
“They raise the sails and they learn about what it takes to work as a team,” said on-board teacher Lee Ann Buse, who will use the ship to teach visiting students subjects from early American History to Science.
“Everything from how the sails work to how the simple machines made it possible for us to become the greyhounds of the seas.”
Of course, the ship's carronades are the true highlight for kids of all ages.
“They are loud, they are black powder and we do fire them off every time we go sailing,” said Peacock with a smile.
After finishing some last-minute maintenance the crew enjoyed a Friday night Thanksgiving feast. By next week they’ll be open to the public for tours or even two-hour voyages across the bay.
“When they see the crew running up and down the deck, pulling the line communicating as a team in a traditional fashion people are blown away. They walk away with something they never thought they would experience,” said Peacock.
The Lynx's permanent new dock is currently under construction in Vinoy Basin and is expected to be complete at the beginning of December.