Shenandoah towed for maintenance

The Shenandoah as she leaves Vineyard Haven Harbor. — Katherine Scott

The treasured schooner Shenandoah left Vineyard Haven Harbor Monday morning for a Fairhaven shipyard, where it will remain for about two weeks as it undergoes biannual routine maintenance and U.S. Coast Guard inspection.

The Shenandoah, one of the only topsail schooners in the world that operates without an engine for propulsion, had to be hauled by tugboat, because it won’t be rigged for sailing until later in the season, Shenandoah Capt. Ian Ridgeway told The Times Monday.

Ralph Packer, of R.M. Packer Co. in Tisbury, has donated the hauling services both ways. 

Two years ago, the Shenandoah underwent a costly and extensive restoration in order to renew the ship’s certificate to operate, which had expired in 2019. 

The owners of the Black Dog at the time, the Douglas family, were unable to make the necessary repairs to the ship due to the tremendous capital expense, and later donated her to the nonprofit organization Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning (FUEL).

By garnering support within the community, FUEL, which was co-founded by Ridgeway, was able to raise the capital needed for the repairs. Those repairs were then done in a boatyard in Mystic, Conn., over a seven-month period in 2021. 


  1. They were “unable”? Did anyone fact check this before publishing or does the times just not do that?

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