The Bayshore Center at Bivalve the nonprofit owner and operator of the AJ Meerwald announced that the historic 1928 Delaware Bay Oyster Schooner and New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship has a new captain. “We are delighted Captain Johann Steinke (photo below) will be joining us for our 2018 sailing season” said Mark Showers, Board President of the Bayshore Center.
Born in Canada, Captain Steinke was raised in Fresno, California, far from the ocean. He got into sailing and tall ships after seeing the movie “Master and Commander”. From that point on, he wanted to learn more about old wooden sailing ships and their history. Since then he has worked and lived on many different tall ships over the last 12 years, ranging from schooners and square riggers, to an epic journey on a replica Viking warship. He has also recently published a children's book called, "The Greatest Captain in the World" which he says, “is most definitely not an autobiography”.
“My wife and I are excited about the move east and sailing the waters in and around New Jersey” said Captain Steinke adding “the AJ Meerwald is a beautiful ship”. Captain Steinke takes the helm of the AJ Meerwald at an exciting time. The 90-year-old ship is undergoing major improvements including a new engine and generator thanks to the generous support of the David Rutherford Estate. Rutherford, a local Cape May resident and philanthropist passed away last year and left the Bayshore Center at Bivalve a sizable bequest. “Without the generous support of David Rutherford and so many other people the AJ Meerwald would not be what she is today” said Showers.