It was August 1st of
last year (2005). I was just beginning my involvement with this
venerable publication when I received a call from Eldo Hartz. Eldo
had just acquired a boat named JEAN that had been grounded and holed
on the shore of Hutchinson Island just across the river from Savannah,
GA. Eldo explained to me at the time that he just “fell in
love with her” regardless of the fact that she filled with
water at every high tide. This story, however, began long before
August of 2005.
The JEAN was listed in
Issue #4 of Bone Yard Boats in the Summer of 1997. At the time,
the photo showed her as she looked in the 1940s with a man dressed
in whites with a skipper’s cap askew standing atop the aft
cabin. Next to him sat a woman in a bathing suit. The listing details
“Jean”, a 47’ LOA antique cruiser built in 1913
by Charles Allen in Red Bank, NJ. Powered by a 6 cylinder Ford Diesel
with Barr Marine conversion, the hull is white cedar 1 ¼”
planked (reinforced with Neoprene in 1964). Surveyed in 1981, the
“overall condition of this vessel is good.” Jean is
well documented and very original. An Outline of Construction &
History, written by past owner, plus letters are available. The
boat is in the water at South Jamesport, LI and is being offered
Fast forward to May of
2005 and we find Charles Blanda, owner of the JEAN for the past
seven years. I have yet to confirm whether or not Mr. Blanda purchased
JEAN after seeing her in Bone Yard Boats, but the timing seems just
about right. He had anchored off Hutchinson Island, and the receding
tide caused a stationary object to pierce the JEAN’s hull.
And there she sat for several months with the daily tides washing
in and out of her until Eldo Hartz successfully patched her holes
and refloated her.
on Hutchinson Island – photo courtesy of Jennifer Spell
I called Eldo Hartz on
April 7, 2006 to get an update on the JEAN. Eldo said that JEAN
had 7 broken ribs and he actually used concrete to do some of the
patching. He had arranged for dockage at a marina, but was initially
turned away when he arrived with JEAN. I’m guessing that she
was not looking all that seaworthy at the time with a solid line
of growth running diagonally across her cabin near the top. Eventually,
the marina allowed her in and they lifted her from the water. She
has since been relocated to the rear of Eldo’s inn, the Carbo
House, on Tybee Island.
at the Carbo House – photo courtesy of Jennifer Spell
Eldo told me that he
and JEAN have been the subject of a few news stories and a radio
interview on Georgia Public Radio. Back in October Eldo and friends
held a fundraiser to help generate some of the money needed to restore
JEAN. The event had several local sponsors, as well as such national
names as West Marine and Sea Tow.
When I asked what he
hoped to do with JEAN, Eldo responded that after renovating her
he hoped to use her as a maritime museum, an oyster bar, or a chapel.
In fact, he though a combination of all three might work, as well.
Personally, I’d like to see JEAN back in the water someday.
Filmmaker Jennifer Spell
of Spellbound Pictures became involved in the saga of the JEAN at
an early stage when she first heard of the JEAN’s beaching
on Hutchinson Island and the stranding of former owner Charles Blanda.
It was clearly the makings of a good documentary. In a recent email,
Jennifer explained: “The documentary has not been completed
although over 37 hours of filming has taken place ever since she
breached herself on Hutchinson Is. I was hoping that the completion
of restoration and opening of the maritime museum would make a nice
ending to the story.”
“I still have hopes
for the Jean and maybe you can help Eldo find some qualified folks
to lend him a hand?,” said Jennifer. If you’d like to
lend a hand, I’m sure Eldo and friends would love to hear
Jennifer Spell, email@example.com
JEAN's Owner: James "Eldo" Hartz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the website: http://www.savingthejean.com
Phone: (912) 786-6044
Address: 20 Silver Ave, Tybee Island, GA 31328
2006 Bone Yard Boats. All rights reserved.
Here for a sample Bone Yard Boats Newsletter.
Here to visit the Bone Yard Boats website.