Schooner Sherman Zwicker bound for new home in Manhattan

Posted:  Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 6:00pm

Sherman Zwicker left the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, in Boothbay Harbor, on May 18 for a new home at Pier 25 in New York City. The schooner's new owners are brothers Miles and Alex Pincus.

The 142-foot vessel had been owned by George McEvoy of Boothbay Harbor since 1969. The Sherman Zwicker was seen off by 20 former crew members, and members of the McEvoy family. McEvoy himself was not present. Maureen Kinsey, who had traveled several times on the schooner with her husband Bruce, said it was probably just as well.

“She was his baby. Watching her go would have been really hard on him,” Kinsey said of McEvoy.

In a phone conversation with McEvoy on May 19, the former owner said it was the “sensible step, in my life and the life of the boat.”

“Owning the boat for 45 years, it's been a big part of my life,” McEvoy said. “The adventures and memories will never be forgotten. And, the caliber of the crew will never be able to be recreated — anywhere! It's somewhat sad, somewhat exciting. Miles and his brother are great guys and they know how to make things happen quickly.”

New co-owner Miles Pincus was on hand and said the schooner will first be taken to Atlantic Basin, a commercial dock. Once the ship is “all pretty” it’s on to Pier 25, part of the Hudson River Park, a pier reserved exclusively for historic ships.

Pincus said that once the 142-foot schooner arrives in New York, it will be the longest wooden ship in the state.The Sherman Zwicker will join the Nantucket, the Lilac, and two tugs, one being Pegasus.

The Pincus brothers plan to use the Sherman Zwicker as a raw bar with two service areas, while maintaining the museum below deck. Miles Pincus said they are hoping for early June to open the business.

“Aft of the aft mast will be a circular bar, and around the fore mast, an oyster bar,” Pincus said. “It will be open daily noon to 11 p.m.”

“I think it's going to be good,” McEvoy said. “I'm very optimistic and will try to get down for the grand opening.”

An estimated 10,000 people pass by the pier daily — so it's probably safe to say that the Sherman Zwicker will never lack admirers.

Bob Ryan, executive director of the Grand Banks Schooner Museum Trust, said the Sherman Zwicker Trust had been seeking a new home for the schooner for seven or eight years. First traveling to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia,  where it was built in 1942, on to Newfoundland, and down to Washington, D.C.  — but no offer or plan to maintain the ship ever materialized.

“We thought they'd want her in Lunenburg, but her sistership is there, and they have the Bluenose,” McEvoy said. “But, they didn't think they could raise funds for a third. About three or four years ago we got a broker, and that led us right to Miles.”

The Pincus brothers were also working with a broker to find a schooner like the Zwicker.

“We love tall ships ... and she is pretty,” Pincus said. “We'd been looking for another one. We found our first tall ship on eBay, a 158-foot topsail schooner in Baltimore that we rebuilt and brought to New York City and turned it into a passenger boat. It was time for a new boat project. We looked for awhile, and then the Sherman Zwicker showed up online."

Ryan said the brothers formed a nonprofit foundation, the Maritime Foundation of Delaware and New York City, to acquire the Zwicker. The Grand Banks Schooner Museum transferred ownership to the newly formed foundation on May 18.

“It's bittersweet. But, finding this connection is a huge deal. All through this process, Miles has been enthusiastic, positive and clearly shows his affection for the Sherman Zwicker,” Ryan said. “We feel confident that we are handing the Zwicker over to an organization that has the will, and the resources, to offer a bright future for the vessel.”