Foundation aims to acquire Spirit of South Carolina

The Spirit of South Carolina

A nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation is being formed to acquire and operate the locally built schooner, 'Spirit of South Carolina,' and utilize it as an educational venue.

Charlie Sneed of West Ashley, co-founder of the S.C. Maritime Heritage Foundation, and wood boat builder Mark Bayne of Mount Pleasant are seeking individual donations, corporate sponsors and grants. Sneed said $150,000 has already been made available to keep Spirit, "a beautiful, thoroughbred schooner which all South Carolinians can be proud of," in Charleston Harbor.

The S.C Maritime Foundation, which owns the 140-foot wooden schooner, is looking to sell the tall ship to pay off more than $2 million in overdue bank loans and rent obligations. Sneed said the Maritime Foundation has been notified of the local effort to obtain the Spirit, which he said can offer "unparalleled educational experiences." The ship can "motivate and inspire young people' and teach them teamwork and leadership skills, and about conserving precious resources," he said.

Sneed said discussions are planned with potential supporters to develop funding to keep Spirit operating for two years, while longer range funding strategies can be developed.

Anyone wishing to help keep Spirit sailing on Charleston Harbor, where she belongs, can contact Sneed at SpiritSchooner@gmail.com or call 860-0999.