Of tall ships and steep budgets

Directors of Charles Towne Landing and Roanoke Island parks have some advice for folks here contemplating a 16th century ship for St. Augustine. Think before you build.

George Gardner wrote in this week’s St. Augustine Report that Pat Cook, History and Education Coordinator at Charles Towne, and Scott Stroh, Roanoke Island Commission Executive Director, have among their duties the care and funding of two tall ships, Charles Towne’s Adventure II and Roanoke Island’s Elizabeth II.

They were here for last week’s North East Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology.

Figure $2 to $2.5 million to build, they said, and at least $250,000 a year to maintain. Best to establish an endowment to support the vessel, and then there’s Coast Guard requirements, and US Army Corps of Engineers if you have to dredge to accommodate the ship’s draft, and semi-annual haul-out for maintenance, etc., etc.

On the positive side, Scott said a tall ship does attract – “attendance drops 65% when she’s out of port” on goodwill tours.

A Ship Committee of the 450 Corps has been investigating the feasibility of a 16th century caravel here – at 60-80 feet, comparable to the Adventure II and Elizabeth II, and our sister city, Aviles, Spain, says they’ll build a replica San Pelayo, founder Pedro Menendez’ flagship (120 feet) we can borrow for our commemoration.

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