Christening Schooner Huron Jewel Video

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June 23, 2018

Christening of Schooner Huron Jewel. Photo by Richard "Dock" Borth

The schooner was launched and floating properly at Drummond Island Yacht Haven's marina on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018.

Thank you to all who came out to celebrate with us as we formally named her Huron Jewel.

And if you're interested in sailing with us check out all the sailing options we have available Buy Tickets 

- Julie, First Mate

PS - We have to give a special "Thanks Mate!" to our friend and very talented musician Lee Murdock for allowing us to use his great music to accompany this video. Check out Lee's music at

This video can also be seen at

Below is the text from Judge Michael MacDonald's speech:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you here for this very august occasion. For me, it is a tremendous honor to address you today, to represent my family heritage in the settling of Drummond and to recognize the contribution of Hugh and Julie Covert to the development of our Island's prosperity. The event which draws us here today is another historic event for this Island we call home and is evident in the beautiful vessel which rests before us.

To paraphrase the poet Lewis Carrol, “The time has come the old Judge said to talk of many things. Of sailing ship of love and dreams and the adventures that they bring”.

So today I want to talk of these certain things, of ships and dreams and love.

If you are at all familiar with Drummond you well know that our community is the center of a great fresh water archipelago, comprised of over 50 islands. It is a labyrinth of channels and bays and harbors. Historically it was occupied by native people and economically it is the strategic gateway to the upper lakes region and beyond.

It was among these protected geographic features, mainly Harbor Island, Bald Island, the north shore of Drummond and the village of Detour that the local history of boat building is rooted. In 1868 J. Wells Church, the chief architect of the Island's maritime industry settled and homesteaded Drummond's very own Harbor Island.

This geography provided Church and his wife, Rosalie Lasage the opportunity and inspiration to begin and grow what would become the first boat building industry on Drummond. Church and his sons-in-law, George Leonard and Frank Mesatigo and later his grandson Philo Leonard would become renowned for their novel designs and builds. Their talents can be seen in photo and half-ships housed in the Drummond Island and Detour Passage Museums that depict boats such as the Naida, the Drummond, the Juanita B., The Sam C. Taylor and The Whalen to mention just a few. Thus, it is fitting that Hugh and Julie have chosen this location in the shadow of Harbor Island to launch and christen their vessel. Not since the early 1920s, nearly 100 years ago, has an island born Lady graced our shores.

These past events I just spoke of are offered as a historic reflection that is intended to illustrate how the talents and dreams of others benefit all of us. They invoke in each of us the love for the beauty of our Island and a deep appreciation for the pioneering spirit of those both past and present, a spirit which should speak to each of us in a positive creative way. For they create and build that which most of us can only dream.

The common elements of all ideas are rooted in dreams. It is in our dreams that all things are possible. That is, a desire to bring into reality a vision only found in the mind of the dreamer. It is a personal vision to create something that can be shared with others. The ship you see here today is just that. A physical manifestation of a dream. Dreams such as those which give rise to a ship like the Jewel are found only in the minds of a select few people. The minds of ship builders. Their passions are really obsessions; obsessions understood only by seafarers, the people who live, work, sleep and dream under the cloth of a sailing ship. These individuals possess skills and talents to construct from pieces of wood beautiful creations which cause wonder and amazement to the rest of us.

The building of the Jewel is well documented. Her creation is recorded in the calculations, drawings and field notes of Captain Hugh Covert and have been memorialized by Julie in the many articles in the Digest. In these articles Hugh and Julie give thanks and recognition to the many volunteers who have given of their time and talents to help make this dream come true.

The Jewel is the ninth sailing vessel designed, built and skippered by Hugh. It's design and construction reflect the depth of his knowledge and the underlying quiet nature of this remarkable man. This latest creation by Hugh, known as the Jewel, has no equal. Every component of her is hand-crafted from one or more of eighteen different species of wood such as Douglas Fir, Sycamore, Larch, Osage Orange, Persimmon, Black Locust, Tulip Poplar, Spruce and yes, Drummond Island Cedar. Each specie was chosen by Hugh for its own individual properties. Please understand that this is not a vessel extracted from some mold or pressed from sheets of metal. Rather is is constructed with a spine that embodies the soul of a sailor and possesses the very DNA of the many hands that built her. She is in many ways like Eve, built from the rib of man and in time under the command of Captain Hugh and first mate Julie will develop her own personality as she plies the lakes, rivers and coastlines that lie ahead of her, in search of adventures.

Today if you tour the ship and I encourage you to do so, you will see her in the first phase. Her inter-workings in full display. You will see her engines, fuel tanks, helm, windless, galley, passageways and crew quarters, navionics, plumbing and electronic components, all built from Hugh's design and in compliance with Coast Guard requirements. In phase two, the ship will have it's interior completed and its mast, boom and riggings fitted.

However, what you won't see are the hundreds and hundreds of hours it took to bring the ship this far, the many nights of calculations, the weeks and weeks of travel between home on Shelter Island and the building site on McKenzie Point, 16 hour days, freezing temperatures and the love and perseverance between a man and woman with a dream.

A total commitment of their entire physical, mental and financial resources. A tremendous odyssey most of us would hesitate to undertake.

In closing, I would remind you of the Island motto, ”Drummond Island: Gem of the Huron”. Well, today thanks to Hugh and Julie Covert, the Island has another precious gemstone on its shore.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Huron Jewel.

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