Oh Ship!

Calling all sailors, pirates, and history buffs for an unforgettable experience this Fourth of July weekend.  

The best seat in the house for Welcome America‘s fireworks show this Independence Day weekend! The barkentine Gazela is one of the oldest wooden square-rigged vessels still actively sailing in North America.

A Portuguese fishing ship, she’s over 100 years old and brimming with historic charm and remarkable original details. Her dedicated crew of volunteers includes East Fallser Trinette Giberson of Vaux Street and her teenage son, Ravi. The two have been working (and sailing) on the Gazela for years, and are two of the ship’s biggest fans and cheerleaders.

We recently toured this spectacular vessel as crew members scrambled to make her spic and span for Memorial Day weekend’s Sail Philadelphia Festival, where the Gazela was to lead the parade of Tall Ships from all over the world. Sunday July 1st, the Gazela welcomes the public aboard for a fireworks extravaganza, enjoyed from their unobstructed view out over the Delaware River. Bring a picnic, bring a cooler — this ticketed event is reasonably priced ($12/$28 for kids/adults) and every penny goes towards the care and upkeep of this seafaring relic.

“A lot of people have no idea we’re here,” Trinette told us, “We’re always hoping that some people who come out for fireworks will fall in love with this big, beautiful ship, and help us keep her going for future generations.” The Gazela is owned and operated by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and operating historic vessels.

Living history, right on the water. If you’ve never been on a Tall Ship before, get ready to feel immersed in another era, to connect with a legacy that once ruled the oceans and changed the world. What better place to celebrate our nation’s history, than by boarding a ship as so many of our ancestors did to find a new life in a promising land.

Length: 177 ft
Height: 94 ft
Width: 26 ft
Built 1901
Home port: Lisbon, Portugal
Fishing grounds: Great Banks of Newfoundland.
Crew members: 40 (25 sailors, two cooks, two mates, and a captain).
Return cargo: 350 tons of salted fish in her holds.
Year of last commercial voyage: 1969.
A “barkentine” (or “schooner bark”) is a sailing vessel with three or more masts.

Follow the Barkentine Gazela on Facebook for events or to donate/volunteer. Click here to buy tix for Sunday July 1st fireworks aboard the Gazela. 

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