Daniel D. Holiday updated Historic City News editor Michael Gold this morning on the completion of a major sewing project undertaken to complete replicas of the authentic main sail and top sail that would have been hoisted by 17th century Spanish boat builders aboard the Espiritu.
The men, who Dan refers to as the “Gentlemen’s Sewing Circle”, had to sew pockets in place, outlining each massive sail, to hold the rope lines that guide the navigation of the Spanish caravel by raising and dropping the sails to either capture or repel the force of the wind; which would be constantly changing during a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
“The entire project is being completed with 100% private donations — no public grants, no taxpayer money, no subsidy from any government agency,” Holiday told Historic City News, proudly. “The steering committee consists entirely of volunteers — no one is paid.”
With wind filled sails for a backdrop, Holiday photographed the crewmembers aboard the converted 73-foot wooden shrimp boat. From the front, Nick, Aldo, Scott, Jack, Captain Ken Thomas, and Big Tom took a break to admire their hard work to date.
On Monday, September 26, 2011, Holiday first took Gold to see “Apple Jack”; the last wooden shrimp boat built at DESCO in St Augustine, as it sat, decomposing, in the boatyard. It has been his dream of creating a replica caravel from the 30-year-old retired shrimp trawler — and that dream is becoming a reality.
Among the many who have donated materials and labor to make Espiritu seaworthy, Holiday credits John Luhrs, owner of St. Augustine Marine Center, for allowing the men and women to store and work on the vessel at his Riberia Street boatyard; the largest in the St. Augustine area.
The Luhrs name is well known in the marine industry, and John Luhrs, the family patriarch, is from the old school of boat design; with an interest in nostalgic boating, traditional style, and old world craftsmanship, it is, perhaps, no surprise that St Augustine Marine has donated workspace to the project.
Holiday is making arrangements to have the photograph signed by all the crew members, volunteers, donors, and others responsible for the amazing transformation of the 1980 shrimp boat. The signed photo will be framed and presented to Luhrs at a later date.