A nine-month goodwill tour sailing from the Great Lakes to the Bahamas — and then back — will include a stop next week along the Crystal Coast.
Captain Hugh and Julie Covert, along with their crew, sailed Schooner Huron Jewel into Beaufort on Nov. 8. Tours of the schooner will be offered Nov. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Gallants Channel, where they will be docked during their stay. The couple and their crew will also host a slideshow presentation about the building of the Huron Jewel Nov. 10 in the auditorium of the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Both programs are free; a donation of $10 is suggested to help support the crew.
The stop and the program are a part of the couple’s Dream Inspiration Tour, which is designed to inspire others to make their own dreams a reality.
“If you don’t name your dream, it will never happen,” Julie Covert said. “What do you want to do in life?”
For Hugh Covert, a tall ship captain, that meant building his own schooner.
Sailing and building since he was 4 years old, Hugh Covert started designing in 2015 a shallow-draft, 78-foot, two-masted centerboard schooner. That sailboat design, he determined, would be optimal for their home waters of the Great Lakes and Drummond Island, located on the eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
To go from design to completion, Hugh Covert quit his job; and the couple emptied their bank and retirement accounts. They worked almost seven days a week for two-and-a-half years. As a result of that work plus the drop-in help of more than 50 volunteers, they launched and christened Schooner Huron Jewel in June 2018.
“If you stand around and just talk about what you want to achieve, it will never get done,” Capt. Hugh Covert said. “You have to actually do it. You have to make it happen, and there’s no time better than the present.”
Huron Jewel, Capt. Covert’s ninth and largest boat, was used for day sails and overnight trips in Michigan. However, the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to public trips in 2020. Instead, the Coverts and their crew sailed the Great Lakes, bringing the schooner to people’s backyards and encouraging them to follow their own dreams.
Julie Covert said they realized they were making a difference — bringing joy and inspiration during a challenging time. The slower pace, she added, gave many the time to reflect on what is important. Recognizing this, the Coverts and their crew set out in August 20 on a nine-month voyage to encourage people to name their dream, follow their dream, and make it happen. Over the course of more than 8,000 nautical miles and at each of their more than 40 planned ports of call, they will tell their story to thousands, encouraging them to live their own dreams.
“We love going to small towns,” Julie Covert said. “We want people to come see the ship, be inspired and realize that they can make their own dreams a possibility.”
For more information on Huron Jewel, follow their journey on Facebook and Instragram, @ditallship, or visit ditallship.com. For more information about the tours or the presentation, call 252-504-7740 or visit ncmaritimemuseumbeaufort.com.
By Cynthia A. Brown