Friends Good Will Sloop 

Great Lakes Newest Tall Ship

South Haven Michigan

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By 25 September 2004 the tall ship Friends Good Will will grace the dock in front of the Michigan Maritime Museum and begin its journey as a floating classroom and tourist attraction.

Barbara Kreuzer, Executive Director of the Michigan Maritime Museum, announced that a contract was signed on December 18 with Scarano Boatbuilding, Inc. of Albany, New York to construct a replica of Friends Good Will, a 19th century sloop that served both the American and the British navies in the War of 1812. Kreuzer noted that the steering committee selected Friends Good Will because it has historical significance to the Great Lakes. The ship was built in Detroit in 1811 as a merchant vessel, and for a short time, carried cargo from Buffalo to Detroit before it was commandeered by the U. S. Government to haul military supplies in the War of 1812. It was later captured by the Royal British Navy and recaptured by the Americans. During the war, it ran aground in Buffalo, and it was burned to the waterline to keep the ship from falling again into British hands.

Two years ago, the Museum began exploring the feasibility of owning a tall ship. In July, the $2 million Capital Campaign to finance construction of the ship and develop educational material was launched. To date, they have received gifts and pledges totaling $1.2 million, Kreuzer said. 

While there are several reasons to add the tall ship to the Museum programs, Kreuzer explained that the primary one is educational. The ship will be a floating classroom to help teach students about Great Lakes history and pass on skills such as sailing, navigating, and many traditional maritime skills. Kreuzer said the curriculum will integrate history, language arts, mathematics, science, and the arts. 

South Haven Mayor Dale Lewis commented ď . . . the tall ship will be a great boon to tourism, education, and will be a big asset to the community.Ē 

The 56 - foot sloop will be licensed to carry 28 passengers and a crew of four. Although it is a replica, it will have all the modern safety features needed to operate on the Great Lakes and to carry paying passengers. It will visit other ports, primarily those between Muskegon and Benton Harbor, but Kreuzer stressed that they hope to keep it in South Haven during the peak tourist season. Most importantly, Friends Good Will will help the Museum fulfill its mission, which is to preserve Great Lakes maritime history, Kreuzer noted. 

A second reason for having the ship is to promote cultural tourism. Kreuzer pointed out that this project fits with the State of Michiganís new effort to promote cultural tourism related to its maritime heritage. 

Another objective for the tall ship is to boost the communityís economy. Using Travel Michiganís economic impact index, it is estimated that the ship will bring in over half a million dollars in direct sales to tourism-related businesses and support 21 jobs in West Michigan, according to Orley Vaughan, President of the Museum Board of Directors.

Volunteers are welcome to join the Shipís Company. The volunteer crew will come from the Shipís Company and do not have to have sailing experience, but they must be members of the Michigan Maritime Museum. Kreuzer emphasized that the ship is attracting volunteers from all over the Great Lakes region, including Canada. Financial contributions are coming in from individuals and corporations all over the Midwest.

She said the signing of the contract was possible at this time because of construction financing that was provided by Keystone Community Bank of Kalamazoo. Kreuzer added that the City of South Haven has donated dock space to the museum so that Friends Good Will can be moored conveniently in front of the Museum.

For more information about Friends Good Will, call the Michigan Maritime Museum at 269-637-8078, or 800-747-3801, or visit the Museumís Website  

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