MAGGIE FIELD | SUN
The idled Skullywag sits in the field next to the
Holmes Beach Public Works building.
The Skullywag sits next to a city building in Holmes Beach, exposed to the elements and showing its age. Now, the Anna Maria Island Privateers are looking to restore it.
According to Tim “Hammer” Thompson, there are some major problems for the vehicle, which was pieced together by Privateer Jim “Skully” Hungerford and a bunch of helpers.
Before the Skullywag, the Privateers had a ship that was more of a barge. They had to pull it behind a heavy-duty pickup.
In 1999, Hungerford put together their new ship, based on a Bluebird school bus with the driver sitting in a Ford F-150 cab. A master with Fiberglas, Hungerford was instrumental in the ship’s two-deck design and construction. So much so, in fact, that two high school students won the contest to name the ship, taking Hungerford’s pirate name and calling it Skullywag.
The new ship ran on its own, it stopped and, with a little extra room, it turned corners. It made a curious sight as it went around the Island’s streets, and it immediately became an icon for a type of lifestyle many on the Island embraced.
Now, it has fallen into disrepair. Rats have gnawed through the wiring and some of the mechanics are wearing out. It has broken down on the road, and the Privateers, who don’t like spending money collected for scholarships on themselves, are asking for donations for the SOS (Save Our Skullywag) Fund.
Thompson wrote a sea shanty about their problem.
“It seems that the pistons have a barnacle build up;
The rudder is bent and hanging low on the stern;
The ship rats have eaten the wiring to our running lights;
The bilge pump is no longer pumping;
Our sound system is sounding like a fog horn;
The oars are broken and we need a tow bar;
And the cannons are misfiring.”
The shipmaster has estimated they need about $5,000 doubloons to bring the Skullywag to parade-worthy shape. They might not have it available for their Fourth of July parade.
To kick off their fundraiser, Concerts in the Park organizer Cindy Thompson has agreed to donate part of the profits to the SOS fund. The concert will be held on Friday, June 29, from 5 to 10 p.m.
The Privateers will be pouring beer and wine, making rum drinks and selling Jell-O shots. There will be 50/50 raffles, a drawing for a basket of Pirate Grog and they will cook up their Buck-N-Ear corn.
Come on out to the Friday Concert in the Park for the music, the food, the refreshments and the shopping, but remember to bring some extra money to help those salts who sail the seas seeking booty to fund scholarships for area kids.
Those who can’t make the concert can send a donation via PayPal at the Privateers website, www.amiprivateers.org, or snail-mail it to AMI Privateers, PO Box 1238, Holmes Beach, FL 34218. Mark the check for the SOS Fund. The Privateers are a 501c non-profit and your donations will be tax deductible, so be generous and help out the pirates who have spent 40 years helping kids and adults alike.