March 2, 2015
From Captain Jamie Trost, Bayfront Maritime Center:
Today I officially join the BMC staff as Project Manager for Porcupine. In the six months since I first heard of and asked to be a part of this great new initiative, we’ve gotten the hull and engine into the shop, started discussions with the Coast Guard, solidified partnerships with local school districts, hashed out some preliminary drawings with our naval architect, officially launched Porcupine’s Campaign at the 3rd Annual “Ales for Sails” event, and received the first $25,000 anchor grant from Erie Insurance! With each step, the unknowns have been filed away and we’ve now honed our plans for the finished vessel.
With a year and six weeks until Porcupine‘s launch on April 15th, 2016, we’re picking up the pace and about to start truly shaping the raw hull into the evocative tops’l schooner we envision. Dust is going to fly, outlines for programs will mature into full-fledged curriculum, a forest of documents and forms will mark our path toward the finished ship. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people will make this dream a reality.
Team Porcupine is ecstatic, and the excitement is amplified by innovative ideas and possibilities. Inside of a year, we’ll will be creating something entirely new, shaping a future by uncovering clues from the past. We know what Porcupine was—a gunboat schooner created 202 years ago right here in Erie that for 60 years would serve in just about every manner a Great Lakes vessel could. And we know what this new Porcupine will be—a sustainable, high-profile regional asset that will enhance BMC’s existing programming and expand into new waters with a “School Ship” program for Presque Isle Bay.
But right now, Porcupine is in an ephemeral state between history and future, between concept and concrete. The intense and sometimes frantic energy of creating the schooner and her programming carries the colorful wonder of a dawning day—the fresh promise, the incredible potential…we’re making a “new” Gunboat Schooner out of a donated hull and it’s going to awesome, every step of the way.