Jeanie Johnston Underway
The Jeanie Johnston finally began her long awaited trans-Atlantic voyage this week, on Sunday the 16th of February 2003. The weather was cold, with piercing south easterly gales, but many thousands of well-wishers turned out at Fenit pier, Co. Kerry to cheer the ship on her way. There were speeches by Government Ministers, local Councillors and dignitaries, then an ecumenical blessing. The Army Band played rousing sea shanties. The biggest cheer of the afternoon was heard when the Irish flag was raised, reflecting the County's pride in the ship, which has come through so many tribulations to fulfil her destiny. Gale force winds made it impossible for the ship to raise full sails, but she headed out of Tralee Bay accompanied by a flotilla of small boats, the Fenit Life Boat, and the navy vessel LE Eithne.
Jeanie has been unable to sail out of Irish waters so far, as the Captain deems it prudent to wait out the gales in Valentia Harbour, also affording another opportunity for crew training in preparation for the Atlantic. Jeanie carries a crew of 40, under her Captain, Tom McCarthy from Cork. The crew includes 15 professionals, and 24 enthusiastic amateur sailors, including sail trainees from the north and south of Ireland, and paying passengers.
At the very least, she'll slow down and tip her sails as she passes Beaver.
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