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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

The next generation needs Alma Doepel

05 Dec 2017

The next generation needs Alma Doepel Image

The struggle to fund the restoration of Docklands-based tall ship Alma Doepel continues to lag behind an ominous timeline.

The chair of non-for-profit Sail and Adventure Alan Edenborough told a fundraising lunch at Central Pier on November 16 that $100,000 per month was needed in the next six months.

Mr Edenborough said $600,000 was desperately needed to get Alma back in the water before residential development forced the removal of Shed 2 where the ship is currently being restored.

Alma is a 113-year-old, three-masted schooner built in 1903 for coastal trading and is the last remaining vessel of her type.

From 1975 until 1999 she operated as a sail-training vessel for youth groups.

Requiring extensive refurbishment to stay in survey, Alma was laid up until restoration started in 2010. Part of that time she was berthed at Port Macquarie where she functioned as a museum ship before returning to Melbourne to commence her full restoration.

Speaking at the lunch was Alena McDonald who met her husband Matt sailing on Alma Doepel as a teenager.

She spoke fondly of her time at sea and the important lessons she learned from an early age.

“What mattered was that you were part of a team. You had responsibilities and, together, we made Alma sail,” she said.

“On the final day, the official crew stood aside and we voted our team mates into crew positions and we sailed the ship – forty 15-17-year-olds took charge of a three-masted top-sail schooner!”

Ms McDonald said she had done many things in her life since, but nothing compared.

“Navigating, hauling and trimming the sails, giving orders and taking orders, we worked like a well-oiled machine safely sailing what we then a 92-year-old, beautiful timber ship. An incredible feat!”

“Never in all my experience have I seen anything that simulates tall ship sailing for teaching life skills, communication, relationship building, fitness, self-awareness and self-esteem,” she said.

She said Victoria needed Alma Doepel restored, back in the water and again training the next generations in life skills.

“So please, get behind Alma,” she said. “She is so close to getting back in the water where she belongs so she can give this gift that I was so fortunate to receive to many more kids.”

 

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