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Brig Niagara Senior Captain Reflects on $4.8 Million in Repairs

The multi-million dollar gift from the Commonwealth will be enough for a complete overhaul of the Brig Niagara, giving her at least another 25 years on the water.
May 22, 2014 - The multi-million dollar gift from the Commonwealth will be enough for a complete overhaul of the Brig Niagara, giving her at least another 25 years on the water.

The two-masted, square rigged historic sailing vessel was launched in 1988.

Since then, she's sailed thousands of miles.

Last year alone she visited ten ports across the Great Lakes commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.

"We're underway almost 100 days a year or more now," said Walter Rybka, Senior Captain. "The rate at which repairs are being needed is accelerated as the ship changes so this is very timely."

The ship has undergone band aid repairs in the past, including last year when she went to Cleveland for dry dock.

The last time the Niagara went to dry dock was in spring 2012.

That was unexpected, but had to be done so the ship could be re-fit for rotted planks.

"We've replaced wood planking that on a piecemeal basis has been ongoing for years. The need for it as it gets older is more frequent. We've replaced about 25 to 30 percent of it starting at year ten and increasing year after year," Rybka said.

Rotten timber will be replaced, the deck will be raised, she will be repowerd – essentially a complete overhaul of the ship.

Construction is expected to begin no later than 2016 and will take anywhere from 15 to 18 months.
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