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SV Mystic Signs On For Festival

With the repairs to the pier at the Western Waterfront approved by the town board, the Oyster Festival 30 committee was ready to sign on its first tall ship: the SV Mystic from Mystic, Conn.

Hurricane Sandy’s impact is ongoing, even here in Oyster Bay. The storm played havoc with the pier on the Western Waterfront, an area that is crucial to the annual Oyster Festival and that caused concern to the organizing committee. Tall Ships are one of the trademarks of the event, and this year, as it celebrates its 30th year, it would have been difficult to navigate around its loss.

The western waterfront pier has been closed for repairs due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. Town of Oyster Bay spokesperson Brian Devine explained that an assessment was done by Nassau Suffolk Engineering and Architecture to determine if the pier was structurally sound, which they deemed that it was. Subsequently, the town’s Division of Engineering, Department of Public Works submitted plans, specifications, and estimated construction costs for the project and it was put out to bid in late July. The work on the project is contained mostly to carpentry, (replacing of planking, boards, railing, etc.). The contract, which was awarded to Woodstock Construction Group, with a bid in the amount of $185,130, calls for an immediate start to the project, and a completion time of 30 days. This ensures that there will be no potential conflict with the closure of the pier and any planned festivities from the annual OysterFest, on the weekend of Oct.19 and 20.

That was great news for the Oyster Festival Committee as they had been holding their breath as they asked Tall Ships to commit to coming to Oyster Bay. Without a dock to tie up to, the chamber would have had to arrange for a launch to bring festival-goers out to where the ships would be moored explained Paul Rosen, Oyster Festival co-chair. That in turn would mean an insurance risk.

Now with the dock being repaired, guests can easily board those ships that will be available for tours, a big draw for the festival.

Tall Ships co-chair Jennifer Sappell (working with Jim Werner) was happy to announce that they have just signed on the S.V. Mystic to come to the festival.

The S.V. Mystic is for sale, she said. It is a relatively new boat, built for sail instruction for tall ships but it has been built with all the amenities and modern engineering. Every two compartments can be filled (with water) and the ship will still be watertight, in case there is a problem, explained Sappell.

The tall white modern ship is built for community sailing. It has a lot of sail area and the centerboard can be drawn up to 10-feet so it can come into Oyster Bay.

Sappell said they have been talking to a few other captains to see if they are available to bring their ships to the Oyster Festival.

Another possibility is that the same person who owns the SV Mystic, Geoff Jones, has an 1884 oyster sloop Annie that might come. The Christeen was built in 1883, so it is a year older. “We are thinking of bringing it over as a sister sloop and are looking to see if they are interested in bringing it too.

“We believe the Christeen is the oldest oyster sloop in the country.  The 1884 oyster sloop Annie is no longer a sailing vessel. It has a short mast and has had a couple of different engines over the years. Seeing it will make people appreciate the Christeen even more.”

The SV Mystic is a three-masted 171-foot Schooner located currently in Mystic, Conn. The steel-hulled vessel is perfectly laid out to serve children and families in LI Sound. Her shallow draft with 8-foot centerboard means she’ll go to wind as easy as she tucks into shallow ports like the Connecticut River.