by: Briaunna Malone
Posted: / Updated:
The cover for the U.S. Brig Niagara has been placed on the ship for the winter season.
Built on the shores of Presque Isle, the original U.S. Brig Niagara played a major role in defeating the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
There has been four reconstructions of Commander Oliver Perry’s ship since the war ended.
The fourth version that can be seen here in Erie is being covered for the remainder of the winter season.
“Niagara was in the shipyard for about two months at Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland. She came back mid-December and now we’re getting the cover on to make sure she’s all buttoned up for the winter,” said Chris Cusson, Captain of U.S. Brig Niagara.
The U.S. Brig Niagara will be uncovered after the winter to begin prep for the ship’s season.
“Generally we start uncovering the ship in early spring so late March early April. The cover normally comes off when our professional seasonal crew comes, and with the help of volunteers, it takes about six weeks to get the ship rigged and then we’re usually sailing sometime in May,” said Cusson.
Some of the plans Erie residents can look forward to is the U.S. Brig Niagara setting sail and the Tall Ships Erie.
“We are planning on sailing the ship this year as well as doing Tall Ships Erie at the end of the summer. So that’s all in the planning process right now,” said Cusson.
An Erie resident said that the first time she set foot on the U.S. Brig Niagara led to her becoming a volunteer since 2019.
“It was definitely a lovely day in August for sailing. A nice breeze and just being out on the water was very liberating as I was starting a new phase of my life. It just felt like a really symbolic kind of opportunity,” said Ginny Sivak, U.S. Brig Niagara Volunteer.
Sivak feels that volunteering for the ship has taught her things about herself and sailing. She said that she also has a new found confidence.
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She recommends for anyone interested in volunteering to join the team which will lead to life long friendships.