Lynx pays visit to Kaua’i, to return in 2003

The 1812 Privateer Lynx made a stop at Nawiliwili Harbor and Hanalei Bay in mid-August prior to departing for a regatta and tall-ships parade in the waters off San Francisco.

An all-day Sunday sail took the Lynx from Nawiliwili up the East Side of Kaua’i to an anchorage in Hanalei Bay. The ship anchored at Nawiliwili after a sail from Kawaihae Harbor on the Big Island to Kaua’i.

The historic replica of a War of 1812 American ship is partly an educational project. Executive director of the Lynx project is Woody Woods. Woods spent a number of years in Hawai’i, mostly living on the Big Island where he started Mauna Kea Motors, the Waimea Inn, Royal Hawaiian Air Service and other businesses. He first came to Hawai’i as a Navy officer in the 1950s.

Woods plans to return to Kaua’i next summer to use the Lynx to help educate youth from Hawai’i, the Mainland and foreign nations in seamanship and personal development.

Information posted on the Lynx Web site show that the ship, which is rigged as a schooner, is an interpretation of an actual privateer named Lynx and built by Thomas Kemp in 1812 in Fell’s Point, Maryland.

The ship was among the first ships to defend American freedom by evading the British naval fleet then blockading American ports and serving in the important privateering efforts.

The planning, design and construction of Lynx are modeled on the early days of American maritime heritage. Below decks, Woods has added 21st-century technology to insure a safe passage when at sea.

The Lynx was launched on July 28, 2001 in Rockport, Maine, and built by Rockport Marine.

Privateers were relied upon by the U.S. government in battling the British Navy, a force than considered the mightiest fleet in the world. The privately owned vessels would harass British Navy ships, and capture cargoes from British merchant ships; owners of privateers would receive a sizable cut from the sale of the cargo.

Privateers were so effective at running the British blockade and in harassing the Royal Navy that their shipyards became a primary target for British revenge. The most notorious of these shipyards were at Fell’s Point.

To get to Fell’s Point, the British Navy had to sail past Fort McHenry, which protected the entrance of Baltimore harbor. In one famous battle, for a day and night in mid-September 1814, the British tried, but couldn’t get through thanks to the fire of American coastal guns. Francis Scott Key, then a young lawyer, observed the battle in the harbor and the next morning after seeing the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry penned “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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