A Celebration on the Hill

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation's whaleboat, which was christened on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2014, is one of 10 whaleboats being built for the Charles W. Morgan restoration. Photo: Alexandria Seaport Foundation

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation’s whaleboat was christened on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2014. Photo: Alexandria Seaport Foundation

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Alexandria Seaport Foundation (ASF) christened their whaleboat for the Charles W. Morgan in a ceremony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 12. Built by ASF apprentices and volunteers, the whaleboat is one of 10 that will equip the 1841 whaleship when she embarks on her commemorative 38th Voyage this summer.

Virginia Congressman Jim Moran speaking at the christening of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation's (ASF) whaleboat on March 12.

Virginia Congressman Jim Moran speaking at the christening of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation’s (ASF) whaleboat on March 12. Photo: ASF

Rev. Pierce Klemmt from the Christ Church in Alexandria performed the christening with the help of U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (VA) and Charles W. Morgan historian Matthew Stackpole from Mystic Seaport. The evening before the event, City of Alexandria Council member John Chapman read a proclamation honoring ASF and its whaleboat as a symbol of the American spirit, maritime history, and our seafaring ancestors.

ASF was a natural fit to join the Morgan whaleboat project. Since 1993, the organization’s primary focus has been to use traditional boat building to help disadvantaged youth improve their lives. ASF’s signature Boat Building Apprenticeship Program is a nationally recognized program which helps at-risk youth between the ages of 18-22 acquire the job and social skills necessary to secure a successful career path.  ASF has improved the lives of hundreds of youth through this program, serving an average of 40 young men and women annually. Along with career and woodworking skills, apprentices improve their academic competencies through project-based learning and in the context of traditional wooden boat building.

The ASF whaleboat is scheduled to be delivered to Mystic Seaport in May, just in time to accompany the Morgan when she leaves for her historic journey on May 17.