Surviving historic Schooner pays first visit to Port St. Joe

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 01:03 PM.

In 1991 Curry donated the boat to the Apalachicola Maritime Museum where it became a sail trainer for at-risk youth for the next 13 years. The same year, the Governor Stone was designated as a historic landmark by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. It is owned and maintained by the non-profit volunteer group, Friends of the Governor Stone.

 “It’s a historic landmark that floats,” said Harry Dennard, President of the Friends of the Governor Stone. “It’s the only one of its kind.”

The vessel requires certified operators for each port it visits.

Capt. Bill Hamilton has been a friend of the Governor Stone, and a captain, for three years. Hamilton sailed in his youth and went on to teach scuba lessons and host dive charters. For him, joining the Friends of the Governor Stone was a way to get back to sailing. Though the group has 130 members, the captain sees raising awareness for the boat as a worthwhile cause.

“We have more hope than money,” said Hamilton. “People won’t want to save it if they don’t know how it is.”

Port St. Joe was the last stop for the boat in 2013. After leaving the marina it returned to its home port in St. Andrews where it will be dry-docked while repairs are completed on the 133-year-old ship.

The Friends organization recently received a historic preservation grant and plans to use the funds to restore the boat as close to its original state as possible.

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