Voyage to Cuba on board Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry

November 25, 2017 (Portland, ME) - Students from Portland area high schools will embark on an historic journey by tall ship from Florida to Cuba during their upcoming February school vacation, it was announced today. Tall Ships Portland, a local nonprofit dedicated to maritime youth education, has announced a partnership with Falmouth High School and the Tall Ship OLIVER HAZARD PERRY to carry up to 30 Maine teens on their trip from St Petersburg, FL to Cienfuegos, Cuba. The students will be accompanied by chaperones* and the 18-member professional crew of the Oliver Hazard Perry, America's premier civilian tall ship. “This is a remarkable opportunity for local teens to experience an entirely different world on many levels,” said Paul Wolf, Events Director for Tall Ships Portland. “Unplugged from technology, they quickly learn about teamwork, vigilance and harnessing the forces of nature. We send dozens of teens to sea each summer and they always describe their experience as life changing.” 

Faculty at Falmouth High School have developed the academic curriculum for the trip and students completing the voyage will receive a semester of academic credit for the week of training. While learning navigation, meteorology and sail handling, a one-week sailing voyage equates to one semester credit. “This is a great way for these teens to learn outside the classroom,” said Jon Radtke, Assistant Principal at Falmouth High School and Coordinator of the Cuba voyage. “Experiential learning has a profound effect on a student because they learn a lot about themselves. The other great aspect of life at sea is that whatever ‘group’ you belonged to in school is left at the pier. Tall ship living is the great equalizer.” While on board the Oliver Hazard Perry, students will augment the crew and do the same challenging, team-based operations around the clock to keep the boat sailing on wind power. They will have the experience and the responsibility of standing a watch and keeping watch over their shipmates. Students will live in climate-controlled berthing below decks and will enjoy hot meals from the ship's modern galley. Watch this video of the Bermuda trip this spring including interviews with Maine students.

The OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (OHP) is a 200-foot, three-masted tall ship. It was built in Rhode Island in 2015 and is the largest civilian training tall ship in the nation. OHP sails as a goodwill ambassador and a floating classroom for maritime training and has made several visits to Portland. Most recently, OHP was part of Tall Ships® Weekend 2017 in Portland along with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE. The two vessels welcomed over 14,000 guests on board for tours during their stay. The visit to Cienfuegos, Cuba has been coordinated with the Cuban government. Cienfuegos is a city of 150,000 located on Cuba’s south coast, about 160 miles from Havana. The Portland-based Tall Ship Schooner HARVEY GAMAGE has made Cienfuegos their winter home and is conducting oceanographic research with a local university. Maine crew from the GAMAGE have described the city as “safe and friendly.” 

Details: Depart Portland Int. Jetport Feb. 15 return Feb. 25/26

Cost -- $2,600 Includes airfare to and from the ship and all expenses. Financial aid may be available to those with demonstrated need.

Students interested in being part of the voyage should email info@tallshipsportland.org or call Jon Radtke, TSP Cuba Cruise Coordinator at 207-619-1842.

*Voyage chaperones as of 11/25/2017

Falmouth High School Assistant Principal Jon Radtke, USCG Licensed Captain

USCG Ret. Commander Paul Wolf, Scarborough, ME

Falmouth High School Spanish Teacher Dan Bennett