Historic Schooner Restored

The GOVERNOR STONE sailing home March 22 after an extensive restoration. Photo:  Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

The Governor Stone sailing home March 22 after an extensive restoration. Photo: Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

ST. ANDREWS — The 1877 schooner Governor Stone returned to her homeport in St. Andrews, Fla. last week after an eight-month restoration at the Bay City Boatyard in Panama City, Fla.

The Governor Stone is a gaff-rigged, two-masted schooner launched in Pascagoula, Miss. in 1877. She was built for Charles Greiner as a cargo freighter for his chandlery business and named in honor of the first elected post-Civil War Governor of Mississippi John Marshall Stone. Throughout her storied history, the vessel has been a lighter, freighter, oyster buyboat, rum runner, daysailer, and a private yacht. The schooner was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991 and is now owned and maintained by the non-profit group Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.

Restoration work on the schooner included repairs to the original keel and restoration of the hull, deck, and masts. Sails and rigging also were replaced.  Whenever possible, work was completed with materials that would have been used when the Governor Stone was built, including cypress, juniper, and longleaf pine wood.

The restoration was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation and work by Friends of the Governor Stone volunteers who raised additional funds and volunteered hours of labor. Bay County Boatyard, Eastern Shipbuilding, and Kurt Voss of Historic Ships and Boats also provided donations and in-kind services. Voss, who has been consulting with traditional ships and maritime museums for more than 30 years, is also the Marine Operations Manager for the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport.

Next up for the schooner is leading the Blessing of the Fleet at the Panama City Marina on April 5 and participating in the Saltworks Raid Civil War re-enactment in Panama City on April 12.