1812 Gunboat Schooner Porcupine
The Schoolship for Presque Isle Bay
An historic, sustainable, and high profile Bayfront asset.
The Bayfront Maritime Center is designing and building a representation of Erie’s historic Schooner Porcupine. This project began with the generous donation of a 40′ fiberglass hull meticulously crafted by an Ohio couple, Keith and Kathy Palmerton, who dreamed of retiring aboard and cruising the world. Their plans were thwarted by health challenges. The Palmertons heard about the important work being done at BMC with inner city and underserved youth who are struggling to succeed in school and donated the hull and 85 HP marine diesel engine and other equipment.
Porcupine’s mission will be sailing as the Schoolship for Presque Isle Bay, a hands-on sailing STEM classroom and historic regional attraction, interpreting her important part in the War of 1812, sailing for the US Coastal Survey Office, being a United States Revenue Cutter, and carrying cargo as the merchant schooner Caroline until 1873.
The completed square topsail rigged Porcupine will be operated by the Bayfront Maritime Center as a historic, sailing science vessel for area school students. Porcupine will also offer sailing charters and special events during the sailing season. Because of her size and draft Porcupine will be able to visit Erie’s smaller neighboring ports on both sides of Lake Erie that are not accessible to larger vessels. Because of her modern high density closed cell marine foam and fiberglass hull, she will be a sustainable, efficient, cost effective and high profile local asset with deep ties to Erie.
Over 600 supporters gathered at Ales for Sails for a close up view of the Schoolship under construction in the BMC boatshop.
The mahogany rudder has bronze rods in it running fore and aft. Stainless steel straps welded to the rudder post are riveted in place with bronze and let-in flush with the mahogany.
Four USCG MSC inspectors liking what they are seeing! The port diesel tank is visible lower right.
Schooner Porcupine, The Erie Time News Front Page Story on Monday November 28.
Read the Erie Times News Article, and see additional photographs.
Erie’s Rich Maritime Heritage.
The Bayfront Maritime Center assembled an accomplished team.
Phase II of the Porcupine Project
Richard Eisenberg – Project Director
Robert Arlet – Shipwright
Nick Rinn- Shipwright
Iver Franzen – Naval Architect
Fundraising Coordinator – Jennie Hagerty
Volunteer Carpenters – Frank Coskin and Ken Phillips
Phase I of the Porcupine Project
★ David Bierig, Sailmaker – Designer, & ★ Richard Eisenberg, BMC Executive Director ★ Project Directors
★ Robert Arlet ★ Shipwright
★ Nick Rinn ★ Shipwright
★Iver Franzen★ Naval Architect
★ Randy Lachowski ★ Campaign Chairperson
★ David Frew ★ Fundraiser
★ Bensur Creative Marketing Group ★ Marketing
★ Melinda Meyer ★ Grant Writer
The next step for this project is fundraising. The hull and associated equipment represents a large
investment in materials by the builders. The Bayfront Maritime Center is seeking $200,000 in donations, gifts, sponsorships and grants to add to $200,000 in pledged contributed services for the completion and launch of the gunboat. Contributions will be fully tax deductible because they will be directed toward the Bayfront Maritime Center (BMC) which is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Organizational gifts may be eligible for the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Contributors will be named in a permanent way on the schooner as well as on the BMC campus, and divided into the following categories.
We hope to secure several major gifts and grants to ease the fundraising task needed to launch Porcupine. We are also interested in increasing the number of stakeholders, so we have provided giving levels from as little as $25. Donors will each receive a one-year BMC membership and their names will be permanently affixed to both the Porcupine and on the BMC waterfront campus. They will receive a regular newsletter apprising them of progress on the Porcupine project, and will be invited to the launching party.
Please call Rich Eisenberg, 814-456-4077 with any inquiries, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Schooner Porcupine Construction photos:
Gunboat Schooner Porcupine History
The Porcupine was one of the schooner rigged gunboats built in Erie by Daniel Dobbins and Ebeneezer Crosby to fight in the battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The gunboat schooner Porcupine was used as a hospital ship immediately following the Battle of Lake Erie. She fought in several later campaigns supporting the Detroit and Thames River land forces, making her story intimately connected to regional history. Porcupine was transferred to the US Coastal Survey Office and used to chart and document coastlines. She later served in the Revenue Cutter Service. She was sold to a merchant in 1825, renamed Caroline, and carried cargo on the Great Lakes for 47 years, making this square topsail schooner the longest lasting vessel of Perry’s fleet.
The unfinished fiberglass hull rolling into the BMC boatshop.