S/V Ceres, USCG 1247675
- USCG Class: Cargo Ship, Coastwise
- Hailing Port: Vergennes, Vermont
- Year Completed: 2013
- LOA & LOD: 39'6"
- Beam: 10'
- Displacement: 18 tons
- Gross Register Tonnage (GRT) 14½ tons
- Draft (boards up): 2'
- Draft (boards down): 6'6"
- Rig: Spritsail ketch, sail area 793 sq. ft.
- Crew: 2
-- Pete Seeger (on Ceres, 2013)
The sailing vessel Ceres is the heart of Vermont Sail Freight. She's of a simple and sturdy design, borrowing from the English Thames Sailing Barge tradition as well as from the box-barge "triloboat" methods laid out by Dave Zeiger of Alaska. She was built on a farm in Vermont by a largely volunteer labor force in 2013, with contributions from some outstanding professional artisans including woodcarver Christin Ripley, sailmakers Dayle Ward and Matthew Wright, metal fabricator John Marius, and riggers Carrie Glessner and Will Young.
The keel was laid on March 7th 2013 and Ceres was launched on July 27th of the same year. Work continued to complete the vessel prior to a planned September run down to New York City, which had to be delayed until October. Though still not-quite-ready, Ceres was loaded with approximately 13 tons of cargo and set off on a widely heralded run on October 7th 2013, arriving in New York Harbor on October 24th, crewed by VSF founder Erik Andrus, mate Jordan Finkelstein and Captain Steve Schwartz as skipper.
Ceres is the spunky little barge that succeeded where more grandiose plans have sometimes stalled at the boardroom table. Her simplicity belies her usefulness: a single full cargo of products from small farms is worth several multiples of her construction cost! Though rough by some standards, we found her capable of all we asked, and learned how to get more out of her over time. Further improvements in handling were achieved in 2014 when our sail rig was completed, tackle improved and a short, folding bowsprit added.
Although our eyes are fully open to the possibilities offered by a great variety of working craft, and we hope to expand to larger and more specialized vessels, we'll always have a soft spot for Ceres, who shows us what a small community of Vermonters and North Country New Yorkers can do when we put our minds and hands to the same task.