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Nauticus To Host Inaugural SailFest

New event to raise funds and awareness for Sail Nauticus.

Norfolk, Va. (July 28, 2022) – Nauticus announces the launch of the first-ever SailFest to celebrate their signature program, Sail Nauticus. On September 24, 2022, the community is invited to raise funds on and off the water in support STEM and leadership development for students in Hampton Roads.

SailFest, a two-part event, will feature a unique regatta titled the Cofer Cup, followed by a Pier Party celebration on Nauticus’ cruise pier. 

The Cofer Cup invites sailors of all skill levels to form or join a team to race along the Elizabeth River in Sail Nauticus’ fleet of Harbor 20 sailboats. The winning team will have their name featured on the official Cofer Cup trophy and will be displayed for public viewing inside Nauticus’ exhibit halls. 

Following the race, the community is invited to Nauticus’ cruise pier for a “Pier Party” to enjoy an afternoon of games, live music, local food trucks, beer by Elation Brewing Co, sunset views and more. SailFest sponsors will also compete in the Corporate Challenge, a fun and unique set of races led by Sail Nauticus instructors while Pier Party attendees cheer on the winners.

“Participating in this event is an incredible way to experience and support our transformational after-school program, all while having fun!” said Sail Nauticus Director, Sarah Linden-Brooks. “This event will provide a glimpse into how sailing empowers local youth by building leadership and communication skills. Whether you choose to participate on the water, or party on our pier, doing so will make a difference in the lives of Hampton Roads students.”

All event proceeds benefit Sail Nauticus’ programs, including the Sail Nauticus Academy. The flagship program for underserved youth in Hampton Roads provides the opportunity to develop leadership and academic success through the art and science of sailing.

SailFest will be held rain or shine. Cofer Cup registration is $275 per boat and $375 after August 15. Pier Party tickets are $55 per person and will be $65 after September 1. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.nauticus.org/sailfest

Current event sponsors include: Wolcott Rivers GatesPortsmouth River CasinoSouthern BankVirginia Maritime Association, Hampton Roads Shipping Association and Elation Brewing Co.

About Sail Nauticus 

Support for Sail Nauticus directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides a life-changing experience for underserved youth in our local community. Our mission is to inspire, instruct, and impact Hampton Roads kids through the use of sailing and maritime sciences. To learn more visit www.nauticus.org/sail-nauticus.

About Nauticus
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit www.nauticus.org.

The Past, Present and Future of Drones

By: Megan Roche 

With Drones: Is the Sky the Limit now open, what better time to learn about these small but powerful fascinating machines.

Military Strategy 

There are many names for drones, some of which include Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. A Venetian attack in the 1850s led to the first drone concept, an unmanned balloon filled with bombs. Other early ideas included the quadcopter and radio guided drones. 

The Battleship Wisconsin used RPVs during its time in the Persian Gulf. Sailors aboard the Wisconsin mainly used RPVs to observe enemy movements, assess damage, search and rescue, for artillery targeting, and for air support. They would launch the RPV off the fantail, from either the port or starboard side. To recover the RPV, football-esque goal posts would be mounted on the fantail with a net stretched to each post. The pilot would fly the RPV into the net, and it would be lowered onto the deck.

During the Gulf War, her RPV videoed the surrender from the Iraqi people on March 1, 1991. Currently displayed at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Wisconsin’s RPV has been dubbed the “Flying Lawnmower” due to the sound she made after the booster rocket dropped.

Birds-Eye View 

In current day, a common public usage of drones includes photography and videography. Andrew Richard, a local Hampton Roads drone photographer and videographer, shared how he uses the technology of in his business, often times to get the shot that nobody else can. 

“Photography and videography with drones are a good place to start when it comes to learning how to fly a drone. Drones can produce amazing photos that are impossible to duplicate by a ground-based photographer.”

Commercial Uses 

Drones are still used in the military, but have become a popular tool for businesses. Law enforcement, real estate, inspections, and agriculture are some of the industries that use drones in the workplace.

According to Professor Julie Young at Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly Thomas Nelson Community College), drones will become the future among other instruments that are being developed.

“A drone is really a tool that is used to help get a job done. The drone itself can be used in all different ways. A drone is the universal tool that can be enhanced with instruments, such as cameras and thermometers.”

It is possible that drones will be used for other purposes in the near future, such as grocery delivery, package delivery, and more.

Drone Licenses

From a commercial standpoint, every individual who makes a profit using their drone needs to be licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration. VPPC’s certificate program is basically a drivers education program for drones. In their class, potential pilots learn how to read aeronautical maps, fix their drone, identify restricted airspace, and more. 

Open now until October 9, learn more about drone technology in the summer exhibit, Drones: Is the Sky the Limit. Through interactive displays and stations, explore the past, present and future of drones. Then, test your pilot skills in the Drone Zone obstacle course.

Have a “Round” at Nauticus’ Battlechip and Sip

Make Father’s Day memorable at a unique waterfront golfing experience.

Norfolk, Va. (June 1, 2022) – For the first time in the history of Nauticus, guests will have the opportunity to drive biodegradable golf balls off the historic Battleship Wisconsin’s fantail to hit an interactive floating water target positioned in the Elizabeth River. 

Nauticus is partnering with Maryland startup, Splash City Golf, on Father’s Day weekend, June 18 and 19, 2022, to offer this unique golf experience to its visitors.  

“Working with the Nauticus team to create a driving range off the Battleship Wisconsin is a milestone moment for us. We envisioned hitting biodegradable golf balls at some pretty cool spots when we started the company a few years ago, but never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d get an opportunity like this,” said Splash City Golf President Daniel Bucci. “We are very excited to see golfers try and hit our target from such a unique tee box.” 

Using a drone-operated floating target, this setting is a perfect blend of naval history with new technologies and is timely with the debut of Nauticus’ summer exhibit, Drones: Is The Sky The Limit?, on June 18. This new exhibit allows visitors to explore the history of drone technology, from the earliest unmanned flying machines to advanced systems of the 21st century.  

Battlechip & Sip activities will be open on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Visitors will enjoy food and drink specials aboard the ship in addition to entertainment by media sponsor, US106.1. Golf ball purchases will directly support restoration and interpretation efforts aboard the Battleship Wisconsin. General admission is required to participate.  

Nauticus members are invited to an early preview of the exhibit and exclusive driving range access on June 18 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Drones will open on June 18 at Nauticus through October 9, 2022. Access to the new exhibit is included in Nauticus’ general admission.

Plan Your Visit 
Nauticus will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here

About Nauticus 
Battlechip & Sip is supported by the Nauticus Foundation. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources.  

For more information, visit www.nauticus.org

Start on Success Program Helps Prepare Norfolk Students for Life Beyond the Classroom

By Megan Roche

You’ve seen them around the Nauticus campus: taking tickets, greeting guests, teaching educational programs, and stocking the gift shop. Norfolk’s Public Schools’ Start on Success students are an integral part of Nauticus staff who help bring the best experience to all visitors.

The SOS program is a grant funded program for rising seniors who are receiving a standard or advanced studies diploma. The program is employer based in which students participate in an education for employment class during their first semester of 12th grade and a paid internship in their second semester.

Students greeted guests and showed them how to navigate the museum.

Each department had a different focus; but a skill they all learned was customer service.

Nauticus staff members from different departments mentored the students.

Students in the program are exposed to the work world, learning skills like resume writing, interview techniques, self-advocacy, and a balancing a paycheck. Each week when they come to Nauticus, they work their assigned job and put their classroom skills to the test. In spring of 2022, seven NPS students worked in the education department, the gift shop, guest services, or as members of the battleship crew. 

As our Nauticus SOS students get ready to graduate, we sat down with each of them to highlight their experiences.

Dejah Jenkins: Education/Discovery Crew Member

The biggest skill I will take away is communication and people skills.

Working here helped me a lot. This job made me work harder and taught me to never give up. It also showed me that I can do more than one thing at once. I realized that I can go to school and keep my grades up while working.

I love working with kids and showing them the sharks.

Zoey Hixson: Guest Services Ambassador

The most important skill I will take away is patience. I work at our main escalator a lot which requires me to usually stand in one place for long periods of time.

I would really advise them to pay attention to what they are being told. It is important to pay attention because you can easily tell guests the wrong information. Those guests aren’t going to trust what you are saying.

I really love watching the kids when they first get on the escalator. They are always really excited, and it brings me happiness.

Ethan Foster: Gift Shop Associate

I will take away the fact that it is important that I am an organized person, on time, and paying attention.

Students should be productive, no matter what type of job you have here. You have to push forward and past whatever stands in your way. Keep moving toward success.

Having this job has helped me become more responsible with my goals. I also really learned the importance of managing my time.

William Armstrong: Battleship Crew Member

Nauticus taught me that I like to talk to people and give everyone a good experience during their visit. 

Even though I am a super nice person, I am really shy. Working here has helped me overcome that.

I really loved when I met the staff on the battleship for the first time. It’s nice to meet new people.

Levi Hollister: Education/Discovery Crew Member

I really learned the importance of being focused. You have to make sure you are prepared for when guests come and ask you questions. You want to introduce guests to your area as best as you can.

I would tell the next class of students to not think too hard about it. If you go slowly with it, you should be successful.

This program has helped me learn the skills for working around all different types of people and personalities.

Dominic Lanier: Guest Services Ambassador

You always want to have a big smile on your face while you are here and have great communication skills. Working here you are going to deal with people that may not be happy. At the end of the day, just do your best.

Working here has taught me how to not talk so fast and how to explain things slowly.

My favorite experience was meeting my fellow coworkers.

Zachary Potter: Battleship Crew Member

I think the most important skill, whether it’s your first job or not, is people skills. You are going to be working with, greeting and dealing with people that you don’t know. You want to make a good impression. 

Don’t sweat so much. You are going to come out of the program with so much confidence. You might not have an idea of what you are getting yourself into, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be just fine once you get into the field.

Working at Nauticus, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Once I started, it kind of got easier. I changed my personality where I’d really like to be more of a people person now. 

I really love giving the Command and Control tours on the battleship. The tours really take you into the depths of the ship’s history. I love the CEC and simulating what it was like when the ship was in combat.

Tall Ship to Host Summer Sleep Away Camp

By: Megan Roche

With the banks of the Elizabeth River and the waters of the Chesapeake Bay right off our shores, the Schooner Virginia is the perfect spot for a water-based summer camp! Is your child ready for the summer of a lifetime? Look no further. 

The Schooner’s summer camp is a great way to get your teen engaged and educated on team building, relationships, and more. According to Sarah Linden-Brooks, Sail Nauticus manager, the experience is transformative. 

“During this 5-day, 4-night camp, your teen will explore the southern Bay aboard our 120-foot tall ship. Sailors will be immersed in all facets of tall ship sailing from raising sails and standing watches, to ship upkeep and navigation! This experience will build leadership and teamwork as campers learn about coastal ecology and maritime history,” Linden-Brooks said. 

The Schooner Virginia will sail throughout the southern Chesapeake Bay and make stops at two ports of call for students to explore cultural sites, shops, and other attractions within walking distance. This incredible opportunity also allows for students to spend a night (or two) at anchor and experience the beauty of the night sky away from light pollution. Campers will be running the ship and be in charge of decision making with guidance from their counselors

“Your teen’s watch will spend time learning how to sail the vessel, participating in engaging education stations, engaging in shipboard responsibilities—like bow watch and cleaning. They will also be able to enjoy down time while underway,” Linden-Brooks added. 

While underway on their trip, campers will also discover new parts of themselves. Linden-Brooks shares that many campers have enjoyed the break from social media and cell phones. Also a highlight: learning how to take a five minute shower! 

At the end of camp, campers leave their experience with a better understanding of who they are as people. 

“We really focus on honing their interpersonal skills, but also building their confidence to know that they can use those skills effectively. I really appreciate that the kids learn to be reliant on each other to fully make a ship run,” Linden-Brooks shared. 

Camp is overseen by trained sailors and educators, completely vetted up to U.S. Coast Guard Standards. The Schooner Virginia summer camp is being offered from June 27-July 1 and July 11-15. Space is capped at 12 campers per week. For Nauticus members, camp costs $945 and for non-members, camp costs $995. 

For more information on Summer Camp, visit www.nauticus.org/educate/students/summer-camps.

About the Schooner

The Schooner Virginia is a reproduction of the last all sail vessel built for the Virginia Pilot Association. The original ship sailed for the pilots from 1917-1926, training apprentice pilots in seamanship and navigation. 

The Schooner Virginia serves the Nauticus Foundation as a vital education platform to engage the Hampton Roads community with a focus on delivering transformative maritime and hands on learning to students of all backgrounds and ages, museum visitors and the general public. The Schooner Virginia’s programming emphasizes STEM education, maritime history, tall ship training, workforce development and the conservation of our local waterways. 

The Schooner Virginia also participates in major events such as the Norfolk Harborfest, and the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, as well as in many community service projects assisting in safety-at-sea seminars and with local maritime-focused nonprofit organizations.