The Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild: "A Secret on the Waterfront" — An Interview with Patrick Flynn
When Patrick Flynn, Superintendent of Ships of the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild (PSPG), describes the barkentine Gazela as one of the city’s best-kept secrets, he can’t be far off. How many Philadelphians are aware of the century-old sailing ship that docks between Lombard and Market Streets on Penn’s Landing?
Gazela is originally from Portugal, but found her way to Philadelphia in the 1970’s as a gift to the then Philadelphia Maritime Museum. Now owned by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, the ship has sailed up and down the eastern United States, as well as to a few Caribbean islands. Maintaining a century-old wooden ship requires a great deal of work, most of which is carried out by the team of volunteers who make up the PSPG. The love of history and sailing inspires the guild’s members. As Flynn explains, “It gives you a tangible example of what a piece of the world looked like a hundred years ago.”