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Schooner Mystic could end up NYC attraction

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: The Day

Published July 08. 2013 4:00AM
Sean D. Elliot/The Day
The three-masted schooner Mystic, shown in March of this year, docked at Schooner Wharf on the Stonington side of the Mystic River.
Troubled vessel draws interest from investors

Mystic - The schooner Mystic, whose original owner lost the 5-year-old ship in foreclosure, may be on its way to a new home in New York City.

Hubert Delany, who described himself as a software engineer with a passion for sailing from Weehawken, N.J., and New Rochelle, N.Y., said Sunday that he and a group of New York-area investors are working to purchase the vessel, make modifications and implement a business plan later this summer.

Delany took the 171-foot-long vessel to Weehawken for a Fourth of July party and then Pier 25 in New York City's Hudson River Park over the weekend and he said it was greeted enthusiastically by those who saw it.

"We had a lot of people walk by the ship and say they liked it," he said Sunday after the schooner had returned to its dock on Holmes Street.

He said the plan is to host corporate events, harbor tours, day trips and school groups aboard the schooner, which can accommodate 150 passengers. It would also offer short cruises using its 34 berths.

"We would stay around the New York City area because that's where the action is," he said. "People want to go out on a tall ship like this."

Delany, stressed that running the Mystic would be a business for him and his partners and that is why they are putting together a detailed business plan for success.

"Tourism is a viable role for the vessel. It was built for this purpose," he said, adding that it will also interest people in tall ships.

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.

Lignum Vitae foreclosed on the mortgage 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 multiday trips as part of Voyager Cruises on Holmes Street.

Earlier this year, Connecticut Community Boating, a Bridgeport nonprofit organization announced plans to buy the schooner and use it as an educational vessel for at-risk urban children. It failed in its effort to raise the $100,000 needed to qualify for $400,000 in state funding which it would have then used as a down payment on the $1.8 million purchase.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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