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The tall ship Elissa is a three-masted barque. She is based in Galveston, Texas, and is one of the oldest ships sailing today. Launched in 1877, she is now a museum ship at the Texas Seaport Museum. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.
Elissa also sailed under Norwegian and Swedish flags. In Norway she was known as the Fjeld of Tønsberg and her master was Captain Herman Andersen. In Sweden her name was Gustav of Gothenburg. In 1918, she was converted into a two-masted brigantine and an engine was installed. She was sold to Finland in 1930 (owned by Gustaf Erikson to 1942) and reconverted into a schooner. In 1959, she was sold to Greece, and successively sailed under the names Christophoros, in 1967 as Achaeos, and in 1969 as Pioneer. In 1970, she was rescued from destruction in Piraeus after being purchased for the San Francisco Maritime Museum. However, she languished in a salvage yard in Piraeus until she was purchased for $40,000, in 1975, by the Galveston Historical Foundation, her current owners. In 1979, after a year in Greece having repairs done to her hull, Elissa was first towed to Gibraltar. There, she was prepared for an ocean tow by Captain Jim Currie of the New Orleans surveyors J.K. Tynan International. The restoration process continued until she was ready for tow on June 7, 1979.
Elissa made her first voyage as a restored sailing ship in 1985, traveling to Corpus Christi, Texas. In Freeport the crew was joined by seventh grader Jerry Diegel and Betty Rusk, his history and English teacher, after Diegel won an essay contest on the history of the Elissa. A year later, she sailed to New York City to take part in the Statue of Liberty's centennial celebrations. When she's not sailing, Elissa is moored at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston. Public tours are available year-round-provided she is not out sailing. The ship is sailed and maintained by qualified volunteers from around the nation.