Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Life for Bill!

I've been trying to track down Bill of Rights crew from years past the wide world over and here you are! We most certainly have something special in common. We are all "Friends of Bill of Rights".

As you may already know, Bill of Rights has been neglected and forlorn at the dock in San Pedro, California for over 2 years now. She was briefly rescued in January 2005, after 2 previous years of neglect, for a partnership with Lady Washington and to proudly schoone her way through ASTA's Tall Ship Challenge that summer. I helped with the first frantic refit in January of that year, sailed aboard when I could that winter and spring, and for a glorious 2 weeks that summer. It was a life-altering experience for me, and I haven't been in the age group of child for a long time!

I just came on board a new and exciting non-profit organization that involves Bill called American Tall Ship Institute.

We are currently in high-gear, trying to raise the last chunk of money we need for a downpayment on Bill. Yes, this is a solicitation, but please keep reading! This is a rescue effort more than anything else. She has many more years of service in her for at-risk and disadvantaged kids, and for educating and sharing the experience of sailing on a tallship. We have sponsors and fundraising strategies that require us to have the boat and be operating before we can get those going. One strategy we are able to employ now is appealing to those of us who share fond, and often life-changing memories of sailing on Bill of Rights.

As of this moment, we are vying with a wealthy French company who wants to refit her as a luxury yacht and bring her to the Mediterranean for the rich and bored. Financially, we can't compete, unless we come up with the remaining $65,000 we need to take possession, insure her, and recaulk the deck. Once that happens, we are ready to go. We have school groups and youth organizations standing by, waiting for us to start scheduling sails.

Please, visit our website. Donate something, anything. Also, please pass this on to anyone else you know who loves BofR or just loves tall ships. And please, respond to this email if you want to be on the Friends of Bill of Rights mailing list. Once we are operating, there will be membership benefits!

I look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps meeting you in person someday, perhaps on board Bill of Rights!

Laura Levin
American Tall Ship Institute
Marketing, Fundraising, and Operations Coordinator