Sailing Nonprofit Must Move, Boston Says, Citing Corrosion of Pier's Steel

The Boston Development & Planning Agency has informed Courageous Sailing that Pier 4, which it has called home for 35 years, is in need of emergency repairs

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For a sailing community good at navigating the waters outside Boston, there are problems on the horizon.

"We have so much to be excited about this year, and to get this news is a huge slap in the face," Dave DiLorenzo, executive director of Courageous Sailing, said Wednesday.



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The problems started a few weeks ago, when the Boston Development & Planning Agency informed Courageous Sailing that Pier 4, the pier Courageous has called home for the last 35 years, is in need of emergency repairs.

"At issue is the identification of serious corrosion of the steel pipe piles supporting the pier," the BPDA said in an announcement. "With the corrosion of the steel, all that remains supporting the pier is the unreinforced concrete infill inside the steel pipe pile."

"This condition results in no lateral capacity of the pier, putting it at risk for structural failure and sideways collapse," the announcement went on to say.

"It was shocking, to say the least," DiLorenzo said. "Definitely not what we were expecting."

Every year, Courageous sees some 1,000 children come through its sailing program. Closing down for the year is simply not an option.

"It is beyond impossible for us to take a year off and mothball this program," DiLorenzo said. "Our kids depend on us, our families depend on us, we are too baked into the communities, the schools, the families here."

Time is ticking, with Courageous set to launch its first program of the season in just weeks. It is currently looking at its other options.

"Since inspections as part of the BPDA's ongoing proactive maintenance and repair program revealed necessary emergency repairs to Pier 4, BPDA staff have worked closely with Courageous Sailing to identify several alternatives for both their land and water operations, and are confident that a workable solution will be in place prior to the summer," a BPDA spokesperson said Wednesday. "The BPDA is deeply appreciative of the collaboration of the Courageous Sailing leadership to find a solution to protect the organization's important programming for Boston youth."

The BPDA estimates repairs will cost around $2 million and take several months to complete.

Courageous Sailing continues to search for a new home for its busiest season.

"This is not the 35th anniversary gift we were expecting, but we are going to roll with it," DiLorenzo said.

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