At 17:45 on Thursday, September 29, 2016 the Utopia finished its journey from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. It landed on its new berth at the Discovery Pier. Ellsworth Peterson generously donated his famed 65-foot schooner, Utopia, to the Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA).
The Schooner’s Remarkable History
The staysail schooner was designed by the late Fred J. Peterson. It was built in 1946 by Peterson Builders and began its maiden sea voyage in 1947 when she cruised the North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and Caribbean Islands. In November 1956, Fred Peterson and crew embarked on an epic three-year cruise around the world. They stopped at ports in the Azores, Tangiers, Gibraltar, Canary Islands, Trinidad, Havana, Tonga, Galagapos, the Solomons, New Guinea and dozens more. It is estimated Utopia has logged more than 60,000 miles, including several Chicago-Mackinac races. In recent decades, Utopia has been owned and skippered by Ellsworth Peterson. He has been a goodwill ambassador in Door County, Wisconsin and elsewhere, hosting numerous non-profit events and receptions.
Fred Sitkins, Executive Director of ISEA, said of the schooner, “We are thankful for the story of Utopia and the Peterson family and will work hard to ensure that this story is told to as many people as possible.”
While specific plans for Utopia are still to be determined after Coast Guard inspection, ISEA plans to use her at the Discovery Pier next summer. A grant secured from the Worthington Foundation will allow Inland Seas to purchase a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) and develop an underwater course for school groups and the public beginning in 2017. This program will be run from Utopia.