About the Governor Stone ~ Membership ~ Schedule ~ Displays
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                      The Update Remains the Same for All of 2019
    We wish we had news.  Negotiations and fundraising continue toward the rebuilding of the
Governor Stone.  It is a slow, slow process.  We so appreciate all who have donated to make it happen and encourage others to join the Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc. in this interim, as it will take a strong organization to bring her back and sail her into the future.  Be part of this fabulous adventure.
                                             October 2018
    The new dock remains generally intact after Hurricane Michael and ready to again receive the
Governor Stone
, a tribute to the quality construction of RJ Gorman Marine.  The vessel will require much work to recover from this
October 10, 2018, her fourth (known) sinking.  Each time she has returned, due to the love, labor, dedication and support of so many.  Thanks in advance to those who will make it happen again.  Join us right here.  
Ribbon Cutting
June 28, 2018 the newly rebuilt dock for the Governor Stone was officially opened at St Andrews Marina.

Gazebo view  Side view  Sidewalk view

New Dock
Images of the new walkway and floating dock under construction for the Governor Stone, May 2018
Work barge  Crane

R J Gorman Construction



Lighted Boat December 2017
Governor Stone alight

Birthday Celebration October 22, 2017
Vessel decorated  Sea Cadet Honor Guard  Unveiling of Plaque  National Park Service Plaque

In October 2017 See the
Bay County Historical Society Display
Honoring the 140 Birthday of the
Governor Stone 
Bay County Museum Display
The  Friends of the Governor Stone and Penny Daffin, Bay County Museum curator, have mounted an extensive display in the window of the Museum.  Located at 133 Harrison Ave. in Panama City, the museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10-1.    An exhibits may also be seen at the Publishing Museum in St. Andrews.

Lighted Boat Parade December 10, 2016
Lighted Governor Stone

Governor Stone
and America
Governor Stone and America
The Governor Stone escorted the schooner America in St. Andrew Bay.  She is a replica of the vessel for which the America's Cup was named, on a world tour sharing the event and its history with all who see and sail on her.
Thanks to the St. Andrews Civic Club
Hull painting collage
A framed collage of the work done by many willing hands on the Governor Stone hull painting project was presented to the St. Andrews Civic Club at their July meeting as thanks for the $500 donation.  Thanks as well to the Friends who provided the many willing hands.









1948 to 2017

Decorated for the Holidays 2015

Lighted vessel

See the lighted Governor Stone at St. Andrews Marina in Panama City

Billy Bowlegs Festival in Fort Walton Beach

cannon and gunners      Krewe of Bowlegs

Our mighty cannon held off the scurvy pirate Billy Bowlegs and his Krewe for a time, but greater numbers prevailed and the City was taken, as happens every year in the end.  All things pirate put the Fest in the Festival, celebrating its 60th year.

    The Governor Stone Travels to Fort Walton Beach 2015

    Captain Dezzutto and First Mate Webb   Sun on sail   Arrival Fort Walton Yacht Club
         Captain Dezzutto and First                   Sun on Sail                          Fort Walton Yacht Club
                  Mate Webb
The new foresail was unfurled for the first time at the Apalachicola Antique and Wooden Boat Show April 18th.  Budd Harris at CB Sails did a fabulous job making it and our vounteer crew had it laced on and raised in short order. Many thinks to all who made it happen including the Sail Committee of the Friends of the Governor Stone.
New foresail and crew                  

New sail covers by CB Sails of Panama City grace the Governor Stone.  While the restoration has  restored the vessel to more closely depict the coastal schooners of her time, sail covers were not a priority back then.  These are a nod to her present stage of life when, like many retirees, she is less active.  Covers protect sails which are not furled and unfurled each day as they were when the Governor was a working vessel.  These modern additions will protect the sails from the Florida rains, wind and sun into the vessel's long future.  Fabric for these covers was donated by Sunbrella.
Come view the new look at St. Andrews Marina along Bayview Ave. in Panama City.

measuring for fit             new covers 1             new covers 2             new covers 3


History Continues to Continue 2014

Please help my Friends (FOGS-see below). Who would have thought that a sheared propeller blade could cause so much work and expense? At the ripe old age of 137 years most of the work for the repair has to be custom done and I'm lucky that one of my Friends is Master Boat Builder, Bill Holland. My Friends of the Governor Stone hope to be bringing me home before the end of the month and the repair costs need to be paid and all the other work planned before the incident is overcome so I can continue on. If you love the sea, sailing and history please help my "Friends" continue their work to keep me the grand lady of the north Gulf Coast that can still sail and share the stories of my life over the past 138 years.

Mr. Holland repairs hull

Here is the Story:

I am the 137 year old wooden Gulf Coastal Schooner Governor Stone. I am designated as a National Historic Landmark, the last known of my design still sailing the waters of the Northern Gulf Coast.

My friends (Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.) are working hard to preserve, maintain and share my history with communities along the Northern Gulf Coast from my birthplace in Pascagoula, MS to Carrabelle, FL. My home port is in St. Andrews/Panama City, FL at the St. Andrews Marina.

There are always unexpected repairs and issues that come with advanced age and the fact that I am a wooden vessel still sailing in the bays of the Gulf Coast. The Friends of the Governor Stone is a non-profit volunteer organization that depends on memberships and donations for my upkeep as a living, working museum of nautical times of the past. I have survived several hurricanes, been sunk three times and worked as a freighter, oyster buy boat, World War II sail trainer, sponge boat and pleasure craft. Now I enjoy my retirement, sharing my story through the Friends of the Governor Stone.

Over the past 137 years there have always been those who saw my inner beauty and the historical value of preserving me and my history. I hope you will become my friend and make a donation to help preserve and maintain the Governor Stone.

More details of my history and pictures of the work being done can be found on my Facebook page GovernorStone and my website www.GovernorStone.org.

Thank you for your donation and for becoming a part of my story. You are keeping History Alive!

History Continued, the Restoration of the Governor Stone

The restoration is complete, though the story continues.

arriving in St. Andrews

The Governor Stone arrived in St. Andrews, Panama City, Florida 

Saturday, March 22, 2014 restored and ready for the future.

Blocks, blocks, blocks -- converting comercial blocks to historic ones.
line up blocks  Shape with sander  Sand
                Line up Blocks           Shape with Sander            Sand

And sand  Stain  Varnish
                        And Sand                          Stain                                    Varnish

And varnish  and varnish  And varnish
And Varnish                And Varnish                     And Varnish

It is all so simple!

This series marks the placing of the new engine.

   Arrival     Out of the box   

Up     And up

Down      Nearly in



This series is preparing the masts, gaffs and booms
that will carry the sails

Gaffs and booms                    Hoops   
     Booms and gaffs, stained and ready for  oiling.  One will become the topmast .   Hoops stained and varnished.  They circle the masts to hold the sails in place.                               

     This series of photos from week 14 of the restoration shows rough cut boards changed          into the cargo hold hatch covers.

planing rough cut boards    planing to uniform width    boards become hatch covers

    The following series shows cypress boards becoming the gear box.  The old box is to the right in the     third photo with worm gear attached.

    One side of box    Three sides gluing    Old and New

   parts of steps    steps to cargo hold   Gear box

                     Old cargo hatches      New cargo hatches

Governor Graces Cover of Adventure for Teens

Dana Grubbs' book "The Uncharted Island" sports a vintage photo of the Governor Stone representing the West Wind, focus of his third book in a series of adventures for teens and preteens.  Gabby Verde, high school friend and her grandfather seek the Civil War vessel and the gold said to have disappeared with it.  The book is self published.   Contact the author ar CaptainDanaGrubbs@yahoo.com to get your copy.
.Cover of The Uncharted Island

What Goes Around Comes Around
      Sponge Boat                     Oyster Boat
Did we tell you about when the Governor was a sponge boat?  While it is of dreadful quality, as a copy of a copy of a photo taken in the 1970's, compare it to this equally poor copy of a copy of a photo taken in 1925 when her load was oysters. What goes around comes around. The last private owner of the Governor was diving from a skiff for sponges in Tarpon Springs, FL and loading them on this sturdy work boat when this was taken, much as Patrick and Thomas Burns collected oysters from oyster skiffs in Mobile Bay from 1890 to 1939.

Governor Stone Hosts Expedition Florida 500
Justin Riney and Gabe Gray on GS
The vessel was honored to carry Justin Riney and Gabe Gray with their paddleboards on a sailing tour of St. Andrew Bay.   On a mission to raise awareness of the importance of respecting and preserving our oceans and waterways, Justin is standup paddleboarding the coastlines and waterways of his native Florida hosting beach cleanups and sharing his adventures via social media.  Follow him at Expedition Florida 500 or Facebook.com/xf500

The 2013 Annual General Meeting
Panama City Commissioner Mike Nichols addressed the assembled members of the Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc. Saturday, January 12.  Friends President Harry Dennard looks on.  The Panama City CRA provided the sponsorship to make the St. Andrews Waterfront Partnership a Mainsail member of the organisation.  While she will continue to travel along the coast as she has in the past, the Board of Directors designated St. Andrews, FL the home port for the Governor Stone.
Members participated in a teambuilding exercise.  Each member represented an essential element of the vessel structure and 'rebuilt the boat' on the deck of Harbour Village over the waters of St. Andrew Bay.  At least as rewarding, members munched hors d'oeuvres, judged a decadent dessert contest and found time to elect Board members for the year ahead.


Christmas Boat Parades 2012
A-light at Smith Yacht BasinThe Governor Stone  won best sailboat in the Panama City Boat Parade of Lights.  She was the only entry in her class, but she was spectacular.  Pretty much ditto for the returning Fort Walton Beach Parade, but the Daniel Webster Clements clearly had us beat for the Destin Holiday on the Harbor Parade.  On to plans for next year.

The Guardians of the Governor Stone

Skeletons in the cabinVisitors to Fort Walton Beach learned about the Haunted History of the Governor Stone at this spooky event October 26 and 27, 2012, sponsored by the FWB Heritage Park and Cultural Center.

Captain Dick Gercak Retires
Captain GercakOn July 11. 2012 our Captain Dick Gercak was presented with a plaque honoring his 9 years of  service as Captain of Register of the Governor Stone and his leadership in the Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.  Captain Gercak stands out as one  who has stepped up to assure the vessel's survival to her upcoming 135th birthday.

Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival, June 1, 2012
               Bowlegs Crew on the Clements                
Bowlegs crew aboard the Daniel Webster Clements, reproduction Biloxi schooner.

Honoring the Governor Stone's Best Friend
Presentation John Curry, Bill Hamilton and Carol Visalpatara

Friends Board members Harry Dennard, Bill Hamilton and Carol Visalpatara traveled to Hudson, Florida to present a plaque and Lifetime membership to John Curry, latest and longest private owner of the Governor Stone. The plaque speaks for itself.

Whereas, Mr. John Curry purchased the schooner Governor Stone in 1965 and recognising the unique character of the vessel, he restored and researched the historical significance of the vessel throughout his ownership.
Whereas, through his singular efforts he prevented the demise of the Governor Stone and the loss of its history.  He accomplished this selflessly, with persistence, at significant cost and without expectations of recoginition or reward.
Whereas, in 1991 he personally donated the Governor Stone to and for the public interest which allowed it to be further preserved and restored for future education and enjoyment.
Resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc. formally acknowledges and extends its gratitude to Mr. John Curry for preserving the historic schooner the Governor Stone to the benefit of future generations.
Further resolved, that
the Board awards to Mr. John Curry the unique honor of Lifetime Membership in the Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc. and the honorific of Captain of the Governor Stone, with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

The boat returns to The Boat for a brief visit

Destin to Ft. Walton Beach  at The Boat  
 The Governor Stone made a quick trip between rainstorms from HarborWalk in Destin to The Boat Marina in Ft. Walton Beach.  She was hauled out, observed, given some minor repairs, pronounced in great health for her age and returned to the water.  She made the trip back to Destin in under an hour.  Not bad for a schooner of 134.                            

Spectacular showing in local holiday lighted boat parades
The Governor Stone won best of class 2011!!

Panama City Parade Destin Boat Parade Boggy Bayou
Panama City                      Destin                Boggy Bayou

Thanks to Jim Tucker and The Boat Marina

Jim Tucker
Jim Tucker was presented with a glicee print of the Governor Stone from a painting by Don Scafidi.  Many thanks of the services and repairs to the vessel Jim and his crew at the Marina have provided since 2003.  She might well not be afloat without you.

Thanks to Uncle Ernie's

Uncle Ernie's Bayfront Grill & Brewhouse hosted a fundraiser for the Governor Stone June 31th.  Thanks to Sean Lyon and Erin Pigneri for donating a portion of the day's proceeds.
Passing the check

Friends' Harry Denard receives a check from Sean Lyon

Stern Repair by Eastern Shipbuilding Group

Justin Smith of the Eastern Shipbuilding Group is leading a group of volunteer carpenters and carpenter's helpers to replace rotted wood on the stern and starboard bulwark of the Governor Stone.  The Friends are most grateful to Brian D'Isernia of Eastern and to Justin and his vast array of woodworking and power tools.

Justin Smith  Bulwark repair

                              Justin Smith at work                     Justin and volunteer Jeff Laugeson

Reunion in Apalachicola

Kady Neilsen attended the Apalachicola Antique Boat Show along with 10 family members to see the schooner her father, Thomas Burns, owned for 18 years and her grandfather owned for 40 years before him.  We are grateful for her stories about the Burns family.

Kady Neilsen

The Friends of the Governor Stone were honored the vessel was invited again to the Apalachicola Antique and Classic Boat Show April 16th and was the subject of a lecture by Gibby Conrad at the Saturday dinner.   The Governor has many friends in the area due to her 11 years as a sail trainer and tour vessel there. Sunday morning the schooner was reluctant to leave and needed the assistance of a passing oyster boat to begin the trip back to Panama City.

Reluctant to leave

Founding of Camp Walton

                                                                                                           April 9th and 10th the Governor Stone took part in the 150th anniversary of the founding of Camp Walton at what is now The Ft. Walton Beach Landing. While the Walton Guards Civil War reenactors demonstrated the many aspects of camp life, Captain Dick Gercak narrated the history of the Governor Stone to attendees of the event.  Later in the day a Union advance force disembarked from the vessel to fight a losing battle with Confederate troops. Members of the Friends of the Governor Stone were pleased to take part in this free family event sponsored by the Ft. Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and to see the Sound so successfully defended.                                                                              Union troops aboard the Governor Stone

Many Thanks 

The Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc. is proud of its relationship with the AMIKids Emerald Coast.  Students from this superb program for troubled youth monitor the Governor Stone while in her slip at The Landing in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida and assist with maintenance as needed.  Visit their site at AMIKids.org

AmiKids sand stachions

John Darrah receives print for donation Thanks for the Support
Panama City developer John Darrah (left) receives a print on canvas for his generosity in supporting the Friends of the Governor Stone from Harry Dennard, an organization Director.  This is an authorized reproduction of the painting by maritime artist Don Scafidi.


About the Governor Stone ~ Membership ~ Schedule ~ Displays
Help Us Uncover Vessel History ~ Contact Us ~ Home

2010 Friends of the Governor Stone, Inc.