The Gazela was built in Portugal in 1901, designed to carry fishermen from Portugal to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. She had a crew of 40 and a fleet of small boats called dories that were lowered into the water every day to search for cod, flounder, halibut, haddock and perch. After about four months, her hull was full and she headed back to Lisbon to unload and refit.
She continued her work as a commercial fishing vessel until she was retired in 1969. The followiing year she was purchased for the Philadelphia Maritime Museum by philanthropist William Wikoff Smith. She arrived in Philadelphia in July, 1971.
The Gazela participated in the 1976 Bicentennial "Operation Sail" with many of the world's remaining tall ships. Since then, she has sailed up and down the east coast, the good-will ambassador for the international seaport of Philadelphia. She is a movie star, having been filmed in "Interview with a Vampire", the PBS Documentary, "The Irish in America, the Long Journey Home", and a 2000 French film called "Le Veuve de St. Pierre."
The Gazela has her own website that describes in detail her recent two year restoration. This has been a huge undertaking, and she looks wonderful.
Quote du jour:
"Where lies the land to which yon ship must go?"
-- William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) English poet
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