Privateer Lynx returns to Fort Myers Beach
By MELISSA SCHNEIDER
A true gem of the sea, the Privateer Lynx has returned to the Fort Myers Beach shores, her winter home port, setting up and strapping down at the Nervous Nellie’s dock line through Jan. 31. All are welcome to board this beauty and meet her staff, as well as set sail for a cruise through the bay, or even farther south, if so desired.
“We love being down there, Fort Myers Beach,” said Don Peacock, who runs the Lynx program. “You have beautiful tropical water and all the opportunities for education there that’s really what we are: an education platform, teaching early American history, traditional sailing, the skills of maritime past. Fort Myers Beach is really right for that because we have a constantly changing visitor population, so we’re able to reach many, many people while we’re down there.”
The Lynx is a privateer vessel that was commissioned and launched in 2001, in Maine. Since then, she and her crew of nine, including a full-time cook, travel around North America, including the islands of Hawaii, the Great Lakes, the upper Atlantic and lower Caribbean, instilling culture and lore of sailing days from years past.
“We bring a cultural amenity to the island through history and traditional sailing. The Lynx ship captain, Capt. Alex Peacock, is tremendously skilled in maritime history and operation of the ship,” Don said. “He’s the youngest captain in the Tall Ship fleet, has spent a significant amount of life in traditional sailing, and have to accrue hundreds – thousands – of days before you’re even capable of sitting for the Coast Guard test. He has 65,000 miles on the Lynx. She’s America’s Privateer, a national treasure.”
As the crew’s and program’s primary goal is to educate visitors on the history of this beautiful masterpiece, and early American history and traditional sailing, the staff hopes there will be an opportunity to get more children involved within the local schools, to experience what it was like to be aboard such an amazing piece of American history.
“We’re happy to say we’ve had lots of participation from the local schools on Fort Myers Beach, and hope that continues while we’re in port this year,” Don said.
He and the ship’s crew are sure to share their appreciation for not only the island community, but their winter port hosts of Nervous Nellie’s.
“The new owner of Nervous Nellie’s has been excellent in extending some courtesies to the captain and his crew and it’s been a great collaboration of new ownership and existing ownership they all seem to be on board to what we’re trying to do, and very accommodating. We always feel very welcome in your community, and Rob DeGennaro has been a wonderful and gracious host.”
All are welcome to come down to the port and see the Lynx in all her glory – and meet the live-aboard captain and his crew.
“We really don’t stop the operation of the ship, so the crew lives on board throughout the year,” Don said.
Deck tours are offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, and gulf sailing trips from 2-4:30 p.m.
Don shares a recent gulf sail from the Fort Myers Beach port.
“We had the most perfect, fabulous sail the other day: 9.5 knots, a lot of speed, a lot of wind,” he said. “All aboard really had the opportunity to see the crew in action, and fire the cannon, along with get a great gun history discussion. And, if the spirit moves them, you may also enjoy some sea shanties.”
As many as 40 can board for a gulf-shore sail (minimum of six), and early booking is preferred. The cost is $50 for adults, $25 for kids 15 and under. Although there is no galley aboard for guests, all are welcome to BYOB.
For those looking to get even more wind in their sails, the crew plans to travel down to the Dry Tortugas and Key West for a bit, and as many as four can enjoy that trip as a party of the crew at a time.
We really enjoy being on the Gulf Coast, and very much looking forward to being there every year. The welcoming has been so grand, we feel very welcome there; your community is why we come down there frequently,” Don said. “Even if you’re not aboard Lynx, you’re not cheated on the experience; she is just beautiful to see.”
For tickets or a full history of the Lynx and all her glory, visit TallShipLynx.com.