Attraction Spotlight: The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim - Image Credit: 

The Pilgrim is a full size replica of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.’s hide brig from the American seafaring classic novel “Two Years Before the Mast.” The original was built in 1825 for $50,000 and it was around 90 feet long. It was going to take a voyage in 1834 to participate in the California cattle hide trade for Boston owners, Bryant and Sturgis.

The Pilgrim would take manufactured goods, foodstuffs and ironware from New England’s Boston and head to Alta California coast where they’d be supplied with procured hides from the missions and rancheros to take back to Boston. Here is a look at the rest of the story with the Pilgrim and what you’ll see at its home at the Ocean Institute of Dana Point.

About the Pilgrim

The Pilgrim is a full size of the original from 1825. After traveling from Boston to the Alta California, Mexico in 1834, The Pilgrim caught fire at sea in 1856. Today’s version of The Pilgrim started in 1945 as a three-masted schooner plying the Baltic costal trade from Denmark. It sailed to Lisbon, Portugal in 1975 by Captain Ray Wallace. From there it was converted to the present rig.

The Pilgrim then reached Dana Point Harbor in 1981 which was highly supported by the community. It’s become a classroom for the Ocean Institute and it has an award-winning living history program that sees 16,000 students annually. Along with being a classroom, The Pilgrim hosts musicals and dramas of maritime theatrical performances in the summertime.

Visiting the Pilgrim

The public can visit The Pilgrim by watching a theater performance, taking part in the living classroom or volunteering. It sets sail during the late summer season where it voyages up the coast around the Channel Islands. It stops at ports along the way as an ambassador of Dana Point. Then it returns in September for the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival.

You can enjoy the “Open House” for the public on Sundays in the historic tallship Pilgrim. Families and individuals can hop aboard and learn about its nautical heritage. Docents are there dressed in period costume to greet you, sing sea chanteys, raise sail and stroll the decks to add to the ambiance.

Interactive tours take place on Sundays from 11am-3:30pm. Check out The Pilgrim at the Ocean Institute located at 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive.

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