There was a well-attended farewell for the sloop Providence, which sailed under milky blue skies June 19 toward its new home of Alexandria, Virginia.
A 1976 replica vessel of a 1775 ship that was the young John Paul Jones’ first command, the sloop was damaged while in drydock during a 2015 storm. The ship docked in Wiscasset last September for repairs undertaken by Maine wooden vessel shipbuilder Rob Stevens. Due to poor spring weather, the repairs took about two months longer than expected.
As a freshening breeze changed direction over the Sheepscot River around 1 p.m., the Providence, now with new masts, new electrical items and plumbing, and some cosmetic improvements, moved off into the river and toward the sea.
Before she departed, Clair S. Sassin, executive director of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation, exchanged proclamations with Selectman Katharine Martin-Savage, representing the town. Sassin’s proclamation thanked Wiscasset for its welcome and support, and pledged friendship between Wiscasset and Alexandria, Virginia, inviting all Wiscasset residents to come and visit the Providence in her new home. Martin-Savage responded with a proclamation of farewell, and wished the vessel fair winds and following seas.
About 100 people came. The vessel has drawn numerous visitors, including school groups doing field studies.
Mike Waters of Dresden played a final salute to the Providence on his British cavalry bugle as she disappeared around the bend in the river.