Silting blamed

The Kalmar Nyckel will not return to Lewes in 2019.

For nearly two decades, Lewes was an annual summer destination for Kalmar Nyckel, “The Tall Ship of Delaware.” It was a highlight of the sailing season for the ship’s crew and local fans. The ship is unable to visit Lewes in 2019 due to the high level of silt at the Lewes Ferry Terminal finger pier. It is the second consecutive year that the ship could not berth and sail from the same dock due to silt.

“This decision comes with much remorse, as Lewes, Delaware, is an amazing summer destination and has always been one of Kalmar Nyckel’s favorite ports. The ship used to spend a month of the sailing season at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry serving summer visitors,” said Cathy Parsells, executive director of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. “We have explored many options, but the silt build-up has made it too shallow for the ship to dock, much less sail.”

The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and the Delaware River and Bay Authority have been working together in an attempt to find a solution that would bring the ship back to Lewes. However, the cost to remedy the situation for three years is nearly $3 million. Neither DRBA nor the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation have funding for a project of this magnitude.

“We have been working with DRBA to determine if funding and permits could be secured for dredging the dock for a return this year,” said Parsells. “As much as we would like to be there, the cost of dredging is prohibitive.”

“Our engineering department performed due diligence on the parameters and costs associated with dredging the finger pier dock at the Lewes Terminal,” said Delaware River and Bay Authority Executive Director Tom Cook. “We have so many other infrastructure obligations at the Bridge and Ferry that have to come first. While the Kalmar Nyckel is a wonderful attraction that is popular with maritime enthusiasts and history buffs and we’ll miss hosting her at the Lewes Terminal, we simply can’t justify spending that amount of money.”

The Kalmar Nyckel will continue to offer public sails in Wilmington and Historic New Castle in 2019 as well as on board crew training programs this spring and summer.

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