Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NORTH TONAWANDA- — Smith Boys Marina has a long-term winter guest that might be turning a few heads this season.
The Peacemaker, a 150-foot-long barquentine sailing vessel is scheduled to spend the winter at the marina, catching up on maintenance as it awaits the end of the colder months, Capt. Larry Clinton said.
The Peacemaker recently made an appearance with other tall ships at Buffalo’s Canalside in September as part of the inaugural Buffalo Maritime Festival.
Clinton said he and his crew enjoyed Western New York — and their entire tour of the Great Lakes region — so much that they wanted to spend more time here.
“We had such a nice time in the Great Lakes during last summer,” he said. “Folks were so excited” to tour the ship.
It wasn’t easy to get the Brazilian-made ship to the Niagara River. The crew had to dismantle the vessel’s 126-foot masts in order to fit under the Peace Bridge and the South Grand Island Bridge, both of which are 99 feet tall, Clinton said.
The ship — originally named the Avany — was built in 1989 and was originally used by a family as a private yacht. It was then purchased by the Twelve Tribes, a religious organization that has roughly 3,000 members, many of whom operate cafes across the globe, like the former Common Sense in Hamburg, which is being reopened as the Yellow Deli.
Clinton didn’t speak much about the crew’s religious affiliation, only that they “live what it says in there,” referring to the Bible.
The Peacemaker website says the group’s “vision for the ship is to be a seagoing representation of the life of peace and unity that our twelve tribes are living on land in our many communities around the world. It will also provide apprenticeship opportunities for our youth to learn many valuable and practical skills, not only in rigging, sail-making, sailing, navigation, marine mechanics and carpentry, but also in living and working together in tight quarters, as well as many cross-cultural experiences traveling from port to port.”