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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail:


Massive Keel Arrives In Port Today

A 50-foot-long sailboat keel and two other large pieces will be lifted from a 1920s sailing schooner, the AVONTUUR, at around 10 a.m. this morning (Tuesday) at the Columbus Street Terminal in downtown Charleston. Media are invited.

The three large pieces are for the SPIRIT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, a working tall ship that will be constructed adjacent to the Charleston Maritime Center.

The South Carolina State Ports Authority, Inchcape Shipping Services and Stevedoring Services of America are all donating time and equipment to make the lift. The AVONTUUR will then shift to the Maritime Center to unload other materials.

Over the coming two years, the South Carolina Maritime Heritage Foundation will construct a traditionally built 'big timber' pilot schooner, the SPIRIT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, at a site open to the public. It will be similar to a ship built by the Pregnall & Co. shipyard on Charleston Harbor in the 1850s.

A keel-laying ceremony next month will start the construction. Traditional indigenous woods of coastal South Carolina will be used, including recycled live oak, white oak, and long leaf yellow pine.

The Maritime Heritage Foundation will use the vessel to work with South Carolina schools, colleges, municipalities and community groups to develop a variety of sail training and academic programs, as well as important programs for the disadvantaged.

For more information on today's lift, call Byron Miller (SCSPA) at 843/577-8197 or Gary Santos (Inchcape) at 843/ 971-1124. For project information, see the SCMHF's web site at