Mississippi welcomes a hefty donation toward a Biloxi museum, to which Tulane University granted $390,000 and a historic sailboat in exchange for a promise for the museum to preserve the sailboat for at least 99 years.
In the 1950s, a young Ralph Wood Pringle was one of a short list of mariners permitted to steer Albert Baldwin Wood’s beloved vessel. Pringle, a great-nephew of Wood, recently recalled, “She was very fast and a lot of fun… She was balanced perfectly; you would hold the tiller and there would be no pressure on it. He had the mast raked just right, tilted just a little aft.”
Pringle’s great uncle Albert Baldwin Wood was the general superintendent of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board in the 40s and 50s. Pringle recently participated in relocating the Nydia from Wood’s alma mater of Tulane University, and secured it in a new and more high-profile location: the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi.
Built in the Johnson Shipyard around 1898 and believed to be the only Johnson boat left, The Nydia “represents the ultimate in boat-building skills, a pure example of Biloxi boat building,” according to executive director of the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, Robin Krohn David.
The museum plans to display the Nydia in the museum’s main atrium, with her mast rigged. The Nydia was constructed in Biloxi’s Back Bay, of cypress and steam-bent oak. Johnson Ship Yard was owned by a Biloxi native William N. Johnson, who was renowned for creating fast vessels.
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