By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A ceremony was held today along Penn’s Landing, designating the barkentine Gazela as Philadelphia’s official “tall ship.”

The city’s flag was hoisted up the mainmast of the Gazela.   She called Philadelphia home beginning in 1971.  When the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild was incorporated in 1985, it took ownership of the Gazela  (formerly the Gazela Primeiro) from the City of Philadelphia.

gazela phila flag Gazela Gets First Official Recognition as Philadelphias Tall Ship

(The flag of the City of Philadelphia flies from the rigging of the “Gazela.” Credit: John McDevitt)


It had been called “Philadelphia’s unofficial tall ship,” but now she is official, thanks to Councilman David Oh, who spearheaded the effort to give her the title of “official tall ship.”   The measure got the full support of City Council in April.

“All we have to do is officially recognize it and give them a flag — which my office paid for,” Oh said with a chuckle, “and the marketing material, which has come from a nonprofit organization.  So the taxpayers are not really on the hook for very  much, and we get a really great deal of them sailing, which they do, and them promoting our city.”

The 177-foot-long vessel was built in Portugal in 1901, and is the oldest wooden, square-rigged tall ship still actively sailing in the United States.

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