Dagne Shellenberg and Capt. Gary McIntyre shout at the crew to ready the schooner SUVA to come about.

Dagne Shellenberg and Capt. Gary McIntyre shout at the crew to ready the schooner SUVA to come about.

SUVA can set sail with more passengers

The U.S. Coast Guard has determined Coupeville’s resident schooner is in shipshape and Bristol fashion, enough so that it’s allowing approximately 20 more passengers at a time.

The schooner Suva’s new designation as a small commercial vessel means larger groups, such as the Heritage Adventurers who sailed last Wednesday, can experience the 1920s-era sailing ship.

The timing worked well for Sue Andrews, of Useless Bay, who was looking for a fun activity for members of her nonprofit group. SUVA Capt. Gary “Captain Mac” McIntyre led two groups of adults with developmental disabilities and their parents or sponsor on short sailing excursions into Penn Cove.

The Maritime Heritage Foundation, which owns the SUVA, sometimes provides “donation sails” to local nonprofits, McIntyre said. Andrew got in touch with the foundation, and the board overwhelmingly supported the idea, said board member Lindy Kortus.

The plans met fair winds as McIntyre guided the ship across smooth waters last Wednesday. The Adventurers each got an opportunity to steer the vessel under the captain’s guidance.

“It was amazing,” said Dagne Schellenberg, of Coupeville.

Photos by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
                                Stephen Lewis, a member of Heritage Adventurers, steers the schooner SUVA Wednesday under the direction of Capt. Gary McIntyre, left.

Photos by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group Stephen Lewis, a member of Heritage Adventurers, steers the schooner SUVA Wednesday under the direction of Capt. Gary McIntyre, left.

Heritage Adventurers is a “friendship group” that organizes every once in a while for social gatherings on and near Whidbey Island.

Schellenberg had the opportunity to inform the crew to ready to come about as the SUVA neared the opposite end of the cove.

The volunteers, who have each received extensive training, sprang into action. In addition to sailing the SUVA, volunteers have also powered a number of upgrades to vessel. Two grants from the state helped fund major restoration efforts, McIntyre said.

They refinished the Burmese teak woodworks, replaced the fuel system, improved fire suppression and took steps to enable the ship to pass the Coast Guard’s stability test for the new certification. Nautical enthusiasts or just people who are casually interested can tour the 68-foot-long SUVA for free when it’s at the Coupeville Wharf.

Weekend sails, which last two to two-and-a-half hours, are 5 p.m. Fridays, 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sunday for $65 per person.

The captain and crew are happy to regale visitors with the history of the 1925 ship, Penn Cove and its place in maritime history as well as the Coupeville Wharf, McIntyre said.

More in Life

Rod and Gun Club a catch for the community

An 83-year-old South Whidbey institution dedicated to social activities and outdoor sports… Continue reading

Doug and Julianne Blynn from Boston bought the hotdog stand on June 11. Photo provided
Hot diggity! New stand launches in Oak Harbor

A new hot dog stand is finding its footing in Oak Harbor.… Continue reading

The plant-based meat alternative is often used as a substitute for hamburgers but Zeffreys encourages experimentation. Photo by Brandon Taylor
New biz is meatless in Freeland

After spending 12 years in New York, a Freeland native has returned… Continue reading

Belov artwork shown at Schouten Gallery during July

Rob Schouten Gallery will present “Facade: What Lies Beneath the Surface,” July… Continue reading

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
                                Kevin Tyler Lucas has collected 500 books within the last two weeks from donors, all of which he hopes will find new homes.
Seeking homes for unwanted books

An avid book lover is asking the community to help him save… Continue reading

New Freeland frozen yogurt business stays cool

Starting a new business can be a big risk, especially during a… Continue reading

Summer delight: A scenic bike ride and a pie

Grab your bike helmet, it’s time to register for the fifth annual… Continue reading

Coupeville man a valedictorian at Dartmouth

SEBASTIAN WURZRAINER, of Coupeville, is one of Dartmouth College’s six valedictorians from… Continue reading

Oak Harbor student on Marquette dean’s list

Oak Harbor native Callie Nuttall named to Marquette University’s spring 2020 Dean’s… Continue reading

Keep your germs, cover your face in style

It was once the look for bandits, ninjas and dentists. Now it’s… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Whidbey’s other pandemic: It’ll make you buggy

By Harry Anderson The pandemic is getting worse. The death toll here… Continue reading

Going to the dogs, and occasional cat

Dogs don’t chase after this ambulance. They ride inside. What’s up with… Continue reading