|Wellington Harbour, from Johnson's Hill.|
|Sculptures make the waterfront an attractive and engaging place, but imagine a tall ship here!|
|Insert tall ship here.|
|The Endeavour replica in Wellington Harbour.|
|La Hogue, a Blackwall Frigate (The Illustrated London News', August 11th, 1855)|
Tall ships everywhere often double for youth leadership and confidence training. That's a role Wellington could value too. Sailing such a ship in Cook Strait has got to be character-building. The Spirit of Adventure Trust has included Wellington youngsters on its cruises, but its ship Spirit of New Zealand is based in Auckland.
Last but not least, it'd simply be cool.
How much would a tall ship cost?
I've no doubt that building a replica Aurora would be an expensive proposition well into the tens of millions, but doing it would provide training and employment here in Wellington so a fair proportion of that cost would find its way back into our economy. Buying an existing ship would be cheaper, although it wouldn't have the historical links with the city. Look at this lovely steel brig for example: the asking price of 4.3 million euros would leave a little change out of NZ$7M. That's not too bad.
Who would pay for it?
Personally, I don't believe it's the city council's role to bankroll items like this, but the council does support other projects, especially when they are tourist attractions or provide employment in the region. Public subscription is another option, with different classes of donors promised something back: maybe a cruise if you give $2000, a free visit if you give $200 or pay an annual subscription to a trust. There are probably groups in the city, service clubs and the like, who would willingly raise funds. And corporate donations and sponsorship should be welcomed; at least one I can think of already has a close relationship with Wellington's winds. Ideally, the ship would be self-supporting once purchased, but that might not be realistic. There's plenty of experience around the world of running tall ships, and no doubt lots of enthusiastic people who'd be happy to help us get started.
So what do you think? If you like the idea, pass it along by word of mouth and social media, comment below, or just click the "cool" box at the bottom of this article. Let's get Wellington's wind in our sails!
|Mast, top, shrouds, and yard. Endeavour replica.|