Influential jazz musician Capt. Teddy Charles (1928-2012) bought the schooner in 1974 as a passenger windjammer.
|Mary E, courtesy Maine Maritime Museum|
As part of the 1976 Bicentennial Sail jointly sponsored by the National Park Service and "Sea Ventures," a New Jersey-based educational organization, the Mary E was being used as learning motivation for students in schools near various East Coast Parks. In April of that year, bound for Manteo, the Mary E made a stop at Ocracoke and was detained by bad weather for several days.
While on Ocracoke Meryl Silverstein, the onboard educator, first mate, cook and deckhand made arrangements for Ocracoke students to inspect the ship. But instead of giving them the usual 20-minute program, Capt. Charles invited them to sail to Manteo, 70 miles north. Within two hours, 13 Ocracoke high school students, three adult supervisors, Silverstein and the skipper were sailing out of the harbor with excited and anxious mothers, friends and teachers waving.
As with any wooden sailboat, moisture, ship worms and time have taken their toll on this 111 year old schooner. The Mary E was delivered to the Maine Maritime Museum this spring, and restoration work is being done by her current owner, Matt Culen of Pelham, N.Y. The work will be completed on the museum’s campus, giving the public the opportunity to witness historic shipbuilding techniques first hand. You can read more details about this project here.
You can read Philip Howard's article (first published in the Washington Post, April 29, 1976) about sailing with the Ocracoke students here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092109.htm.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.