Harrisburg, PA - After one full week out of the water, the 100-ton Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat is sailing again. The beloved community vessel, sailing now for its 27th season, was pulled out of the Susquehanna River soon after Memorial Day weekend to run some urgent repairs on its starboard hydraulic motor. The captains noticed that the paddles were running increasingly out of alignment, and that the problem would only get worse unless it was taken care of immediately.
"We couldn't have done it alone," says Mr. Thomas A. Farr, chairman of the non-profit Riverboat Society that operates the craft. "Turner Hydraulics, out of Carlisle, worked day and night to finish the repairs this quick. H&S Towing did a tremendous job pulling the riverboat out and launching her again. Our captains and crew worked tirelessly around the clock to save as much of our sailing week as possible."
Estimates for the repairs range between $8,000 and $10,000-a tough figure, compounded by a week taken out of their otherwise busy sailing schedule.
The launch wasn't without its difficulties. Due to unusually low water, a pair of paddles broke off of the rear of the vessel. Luckily, with 27 years of experience, the captains knew to have a few extra planks on hand to mend the damage. It took almost 6 hours and nearly 20 helpers, but the combined work of the riverboat crew, Turner Hydraulics, and H&S Towing got the riverboat launched on time to sail for a large group of out-of-state visitors at 3:00pm.
"It's been so wonderful to see the response from our fans and supporters- some as far away as Europe!" says Farr. "We were blessed to receive anonymous donations from people who just wanted to do their part to help the boat get back in the water." Farr also recalled the first check they received, soon after having pulled the riverboat from the river. "We were sent a $10 check from Ms. Darlene Sanderson of Steelton. She said she didn't have much, but she loved the riverboat and wanted to help however she could. I can't tell you how much that meant to myself and our Board of Directors!"
The riverboat began sailing its normal schedule today, and will continue sailing between noon and 3:00pm every day during the summer. Exciting events, like the first Jazzin' on the Pride cruise, are back on track this week. Private weddings and graduations are also proceeding as planned.
"People count on this riverboat to always be there, to always have live music and unforgettable dinner views," remarks Farr. "But none of it would be possible without the support of our city, our business partners, and our fans. They're the ones that buy the tickets and move mountains to get us back each year. We are so grateful to be a part of what makes Harrisburg so great!"