In 1985–1987 a shipbuilder in Piraeus, financed by Frank Welsh (an author, Suffolk banker, writer and trireme enthusiast), advised by historian J. S. Morrison and naval architect John F. Coates (who with Welsh founded the Trireme Trust that initiated and managed the project), and informed by evidence from underwater archaeology, built a reconstructed Athenian trireme, 'Olympias'. Crewed by 170 volunteer oarsmen, Olympias in 1988 achieved 9 knots (17 km/h or 10.5 mph). Additional sea trials took place in 1987, 1990, 1992 and 1994. In 2004 Olympias was used ceremonially to transport the Olympic Flame from the port of Keratsini to the main port of Piraeus as the 2004 Olympic Torch Relay entered its final stages in the run-up to the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Due to high maintenance costs, was subsequently put in dry dock at the Naval Tradition Park in Faliro, Athens, on November 25, 2005, where it has remained ever since. Until now.

For several days now, the wooden trireme is decorating the grove of the Greek Navy Tradition in Faliro, Greece, this reports the Archaeological News Network and many other news outlets with it. Ten years of disuse had taken its tole and it has undergone extensive maintenance works, but now it sails again, currently without purpose but hopefully to be put to work once more--in a ceremonial fashion, of course. While it is a commissioned ship in the Greek Navy, the only commissioned vessel of its kind in any of the world's navies, it would be outdone by today's warships. In ancient Hellenic times, this was the gold standard, however.

The trireme was a fast attack, light displacement vessel. It was rowed by 170 oarsmen, three rows per side, who were either poor citizens or dolos--slaves. A trireme would try to sink an enemy ship by ramming it from the side with its bronze nose. Alternative, they would sail past and allow the soldiers to throw spears at their enemy. Sometimes, however, they threw pots filled with burning liquids, or even poisenous snakes.

It was estimated that a trireme's ramming speed should have been in excess of 16 kilo Newtons, something the present reconstruction could not achieve, possibly because it was overweight. Crewed by 170 volunteer oarsmen, Olympias in 1988 achieved 9 knots (17 km/h or 10.5 mph). These results, achieved with inexperienced crew, suggest that the ancient writers were not exaggerating about straight-line performance. However, since modern humans are on average approximately 6 cm (2 inches) taller than Ancient Hellenes, the construction of a craft which followed the precise dimensions of the ancient vessel led to cramped rowing conditions and consequent restrictions on the modern crew's ability to propel the vessel with full efficiency, which perhaps explains why the ancient speed records stand unbroken.

While much attention was placed on achieving a copy of the ancient ship--the bronze Olimpias' ram is a copy of the original ram now in the Piraeus archaeological museum and weights 200 kg--some liberties had to be taken. This ship was built from Oregon pine and Virginia oak. The keel is of iroko. The ancient Hellenes would, of course, have used local wood. The bracing ropes, called hypozomata', had to be replaced by a steel rope because no natural fibre or synthetic fibre ropes with about the same elastic modulus as hemp could be obtained. The steel cables tension varied as the hull bent on the waves, rather than exerting constant tension like a natural fibre rope. This caused the alarming possibility of the rope breaking and endangering the crew, so protective measures had to be taken.

The trireme was a true engineering marvel of its time and it used a lot of manpower to get around. A trireme of the classical period would have had a crew of 200, including five officers. This would be made up of:

- the trierarchos (τριήραρχος, 'commander of trireme') — the commanding officer, responsible for supporting the ship
- the kybernetes (κυβερνήτης, 'steer') — executive officer, responsible for the cruising safety
- the keleustes (κελευστής, 'command') — responsible for the training and morale of the crew
- the pentekontarchos (πεντηκόνταρχος, 'commander of fifty') — administration officer
- the prorates (πρῳράτης, 'prow') — bow officer, responsible for keeping a sharp lookout
- the auletes (αὐλητής, 'flute') — a musician supplying the oar timing with his flute
- 170 eretai (ἐρέται, 'oarsmen'), positioned in three banks  of which 62 were thranitai (θρανῖται, 'bench'), located on the upper bank, 54 zygitai (ζυγῖται, 'yoke'), those sitting on the middle bank and 54 thalamitai (θαλαμῖται, 'inner chamber'), those sitting on the lower bank
- 10 sailors for handling the sails
- 14 epibatai (ἐπιβάται, marines, literally 'passengers') - 10 spearmen and 4 archers for protection and battle.
May we soon see the Olympias' sails on the horizon, because it is a true beauty to behold!