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Grant sought for schooner plan

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: The Day

Published April 22. 2013 4:00AM
Group wants $400,000 to turn Mystic vessel into a school ship

Mystic - The nonprofit group looking to buy the foreclosed schooner Mystic and turn it into an educational vessel for at-risk urban children has announced how it plans to finance the purchase.

Chris German, founder and CEO of Connecticut Community Boating, has announced that he has submitted a $400,000 loan and grant application to the state Department of Economic and Community Development which requires him to raise $100,000 in matching funds over the next month.

To raise the money to "Save the Mystic" he is using the website Gofundme.com. to collect pledges.

In a press release, German said he hopes that using the website "will not only raise the funds to create the school ship, but also raise awareness for the subject of waterfront access for low income residents in the State of Connecticut."

German's plan is to bring at-risk kids from Connecticut cities to go on week-long sailing trips, something they otherwise might not be able to do.

He said plans are to purchase the 171-foot schooner, which can sleep 34, in early May if he can raise the $100,000.

The Bridgeport-based non profit organization announced that it would pay the $1.8 million cost of the ship over five years with the down payment of $500,000 due next month. It then plans to operate the ship as a way to generate the money needed to operate the floating summer camp.

The three-masted schooner has been for sale since 2009, when no one bid on it during a foreclosure auction. At that point, Lignum Vitae LLC, the local group that holds the mortgage on the boat, took ownership of it.

Lignum Vitae had foreclosed on the mortgage it made to Mystic Schooner Line LLC, which was unable to pay off the remaining $2.9 million in mortgage, interest and fees. The Mystic was built in 2007 in Florida and began operating day sails, evening cruises and multi day trips as part of Voyager Cruises on Holmes Street.

German has said he would like to continue to base the Mystic in southeastern Connecticut.

More information about Connecticut Community Boating is at www.ctcommunityboating.org. The organization has posted a video on YouTube about its efforts.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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