During the Monday night meeting of the St Augustine City Commission, Historic City News learned from a presentation by Daniel D Holiday how his dream of creating a replica 17th century Spanish caravel from a 30-year-old retired shrimp trawler is becoming a reality.
Holiday made a video presentation to the four commissioners and audience and then answered a few questions about what the future holds for the Espiritu after it is launched.
A year ago, on Monday, September 26, 2011, Holiday first took Historic City News editor Michael Gold to see the 73-foot wooden shrimp boat “Apple Jack”; the last wooden shrimp boat built at DESCO in St Augustine, as it sat, decomposing, in the boatyard on Riberia Street.
It is hard to imagine that, given the state of disrepair of the 1980 shrimp boat, a project of such enormity would be ahead of schedule today; in terms of volunteers, donations, and completion of work.
Holiday clarified a misconception about the caravel to the commissioners; a point about which he is very proud.
The entire project is being completed with 100% private donations — no public grants, no taxpayer money, no subsidy from any government agency. The steering committee consists entirely of volunteers — no one is paid.
St Augustine Marine has donated workspace to the project. “All the materials were donated or paid for from cash donations,” Holiday told reporters.
Fiberglass for the hull was purchased, at cost, from Luhr’s and David Drysdale of the Alligator Farm donated the wood. Cash donations have come in from Henry Whetstone, Herbie Wiles, Frank DiMare and about 50 volunteer workers, many of whom have professional construction skills, have donated hundreds of hours that Holiday values at $20,000 or more.
A launch date is tentatively set for November.
Holiday announced two signature events that lie ahead for Espiritu and her crew; including a VIVA 500 appearance as part of the state’s celebration of Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida as well as a part in St Augustine 450th commemoration planned for 2015.
In the future, they hope Espiritu would help the festivals and become lead vessel at the Blessing of the Fleet and Christmas Fleet Lighting events.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer