Small picture of a Mercer 44

Mercer 44 Spirit

The above plaque is from Spirit, the sixth and final hull from Mercer Reinforced Plastics Corporation (MRP) of Trenton, NJ. She was built in 1962 for her first owner Jacabo L. Cabassa who named her Jolie Madame and raced her in the Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC). After winning a number of races in the Key Biscayne Bay area, Jolie Madame was donated to the International Oceanographic Foundation (IOF) of the University of Miami and renamed Blue Petrel. In 1972 the IOF sold her to Bill and Alice Caldwell.

The Caldwells renamed her Spirit, painted her transom red, white and blue, and sailed her to the Caribbean, Panama, Tahiti, Hawaii, British Columbia and California. Spirit was then transported by truck back to the East Coast for more sailing, including sailing to Maine and New Brunswick via the reversing falls (both ways). Spirit was kept on the Piankatank River by the Caldwells who sailed and raced her on the Chesapeake Bay. Spirit was the winner of the first race of the first Turkey Shoot Regatta. The Caldwells owned Spirit for 25 years.

In 1997, Floyd Hollister and his wife Ellen Messick, now of Kilmarnock, VA, purchased Spirit from the Caldwells and moved her to the Annapolis area. They had Spirit essentially re-manufactured at Herrington Harbour Marina. Her deck was re-cored, her sides re-glassed, her mast, boom, and standing rigging replaced, new and larger winches were installed, all wiring and hoses were replaced, a new transmission was installed and the engine was rebuilt! Subtle interior changes were also made to accommodate a 40 gallon holding tank, a 420 AH battery bank, a foldout double bed, and an automatic washer-dryer! The Hollisters have sailed Spirit on the Chesapeake Bay, to Maine and back and wintered over twice in the Bahamas.

Floyd and Ellen have sailed Spirit south to the Bahamas during the winter of 2001 and had such a great time in the Exumas that they are returning there this winter. In Georgetown, Bahamas, a cruising couple from Toms River, NJ recognized their Mercer 44 and came over for a chat. They knew Jack English, owner of the first Mercer 44, named Shadow, now Aurora Rosina).

The Hollisters now sail Spirit on the Chesapeake Bay and moored her on Carters Creek off the Rappahannock River. Spirit is for sale to a discriminating buyer. Contact 804-435-8729 or email: 2sailors (at) verizon (dot) net.

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