A project begun by local supporters and volunteer craftsmen, which was first reported by Historic City News in September 2011, is nearing its final phase of completion — an authentic replication of a 17th century Spanish caravel; made from a 30-year-old retired shrimp trawler named “Apple Jack”.
Espiritu, as it is now known, hardly resembles its original form as it sits suspended in the yard at St Augustine Marine Center overlooking the San Sebastian River.
“We’ve had seventy-two regular volunteer krew members,” said organizer Daniel D. Holiday. “They have contributed over 5,000 – 7,000 hours of labor, and we are the beneficiaries of $12,000 – $14,000 in cash donations from financial supporters.”
In order to put the vessel in the water and be able to set the main mast, Holiday told Historic City News that an “angel” needs to come forward to help finance the labor costs necessary to wrap the keel of the vessel in fiberglass.
“As volunteers, this is more than we can do alone,” Holday said. “This project has been completely funded with private money — we have taken no Tourist Development Tax, city, or county funds.”
Holiday explained that the cost of materials has already been covered. At this point, its wrap the keel in fiberglass, put the caravel into the water, and set the mainsail — the cost is expected to be about $10,000.
“Donations of any amount are helpful,” Holiday told reporters.
If you are able to donate to the completion of the caravel, Holiday asks that you please forward your check to St Augustine Marine Center, located at 404 Riberia Street, St Augustine, FL 32084, and indicate that the payment if for the “Espiritu 500 Caravel account”.