Category: Archive

Dream of Jeanie a reality

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The euro 13.6 million three-master was approximately four times over budget and two years overdue when it was launched by President Mary McAleese in 2000.
It has since lurched from crisis to crisis and has received cash from peace groups, industry, emigrant groups and central and local government.
Following a rescue package involving the Kerry Food group and the local authorities, the vessel plans to finally sail away from its sea of financial troubles and make the trip to the United States that was originally planned for the millennium year.
It is a replica of a 19th-century vessel used to carry people fleeing the Famine to the U.S.
McCarthy, who was captain of the Asgard sail training vessel for nine years and relief captain of Britain’s Lord Nelson and the sailing ship Tenacious for the last two years, is preparing to put the Jeanie Johnson through her paces.
He is finalizing his choices for the crew of seven full-time professionals and a backup of four semi-professionals. The vessel can take 29 paying customers at a rate of about euro 100 a day.
“The Jeanie is a grand, solid sailing ship,” McCarthy said. “We are delighted with the reception we are receiving in Dublin. We arrived like a bolt out of the blue with no advance publicity. Interest is picking up all the time.
“We have a voyage program, but it isn’t fully finalized. When we leave Dublin on Jan. 5 we will do a week of sea trials and our first sail training voyages will start Jan. 14 when we go to Belfast and then to Waterford and back to Kerry.”
The vessel’s construction was a high-profile reconciliation project allied to the peace process that involved cross-community workers from north and south of the border.
“We are sailing from Fenit to the States on Feb. 16, traveling via the Canary Islands. We plan to be in America from Easter up until October.
“Our first port of call will probably be Savannah, Ga., and the program will include places like Boston, New York and, obviously, Quebec. We have penciled in New York for July 4.”
The original Jeanie Johnston was built in Quebec in Canada in 1847 and never lost a single passenger to disease or the sea during 16 trans-Atlantic voyages.
“We are mad keen to get paying customers to come and do the voyages with us,” McCarthy said. “They can contact us at 001-353-66-612999.
“We have places for people who want to participate in all aspects of the cruise and also for supernumeraries.”

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