Some sad news from South Carolina, where the 150-foot pilot schooner “Spirit of South Carolina” that’s so familiar to Charleston Race Week competitors is to be sold to satisfy some of the nonprofit South Carolina Maritime Foundation’s debts according to the Post & Courier. Nearly 10,000 students were involved in programs on the Spirit in the 5 years she’s sailed, and the program an acclaimed model of educational tall-ship success until disappearing government grants and a dismal money-raising market made her economically impossible for the foundation.
According to the article,chairman of the board (and sportboat sailor) Teddy Turner thinks the foundation might not be able to last another year, though Charleston Race Week Event Director Randy Draftz told us that’s it won’t effect his town’s biggest sailing event at all. “CORA owns Charleston Race Week, and South Carolina Maritime has been a fantastic partner for us as CRW has grown into the big event it has,” he said. “We’re all very grateful for the great things they and the Spirit have done for this community’s maritime pride.” Draftz explained that CORA has taken over all aspects of Charleston Race Week.
We have plenty of faith in Randy, though one of the main reasons CRW became so successful was that it had a core group of paid staff making it happen. If SC Maritime disappears, organizers are going to have some thinking to do to keep things chugging along.