Blackbeard group seeking an ‘Adventure’

Published 7:29 am Friday, March 6, 2009

By Staff
Alliance wants area to treasure legacy of famous pirate
Staff Writer
The Blackbeard Adventure Alliance wants to stop other places from pirating “our pirate.”
The new nonprofit organization has plans to return Blackbeard’s legacy, and some of the money associated with it, to Beaufort County by building a full-scale replica of Blackbeard’s ship, the Adventure.
The Adventure is the ship Blackbeard was aboard when he was attacked and killed at Ocracoke Inlet by British forces sent to deal with the pirate by the governor of Virginia.
The nonprofit has plans for the replica to serve as an interactive museum — and a way to attract tourists to Washington. Alliance members said the vessel will be historically accurate.
Mansfield said she’s tired of “having everyone else … steal our pirate.”
The plan is to register the ship in Bath and berth it in Washington. Organizers figure the project will cost about $5 million, which they’re hoping to raise.
They’re accepting sponsorships, have started a friends society with annual dues of $100 per member and planning to look for grants to help fund the project.
The group will accept small donations, and it is willing to sell naming rights to certain features on the ship for the right price.
They hope to have experts and volunteers do the construction work next to the Washington waterfront.
Organizers said the area’s Blackbeard heritage — and the treasure of tourist dollars that accompany it — has been stolen by promoters from South Carolina to Philadelphia to England.
Duffus is a historical researcher by trade. He believes he’s found proof that some of Blackbeard’s crew ended up in Bath after the fight at Ocracoke.
That history jibes with oral history from at least one local family. The organizers want to have as many descendants of Blackbeard’s crew aboard the replica for its maiden cruise as possible.
Although the boat will spend part of the year in North Carolina, it will also travel to other destinations, organizers said. That way, it can promote the area to tourists who attend pirate and maritime history festivals in other places.
Cutline for corresponding photo: Pat Mansfield, left, of the Blackbeard Adventure Alliance, and historian Kevin P. Duffus, hold a replica of the Blackbeard pirate ship “Adventure” on the Washington waterfront Thursday. The model is scaled 1 inch to 5 feet. (WDN Photo/Paul Dunn.)