When the South Carolina Maritime Foundation announced that its signature tall ship was no longer essential to the group's mission, many in the community responded with a collective, "Huh?"
After all, the Spirit of South Carolina was the foundation's original reason for being, its public calling card for the last decade. Nearly 10,000 students took part in educational programs and sails on the 140-foot wooden schooner.
The boat is the central icon in the foundation's logo.
In the end, it comes down to money.
But one local man, who has allowed the ship to stay at his deep-water dock free of charge when necessary, is fighting to keep the Spirit from sailing away from Charleston.
"Everybody would hate to see this beautiful concept go away," 63-year-old business man Pepe Hernandez told The Herald. "The Spirit needs to stay here."
Meanwhile, across the border, a Virginia tall ship is getting some TLC.
The Spirit of South Carolina is not the only tall ship to fall on hard times — but at least the 85-foot schooner Virginia can afford some repairs.
Jonathan Joseph, owner of Charleston Yachts & Ships, is building new masts for Norfolk's replica of a 1917 double-masted schooner. The Tidewater Virginia tall ship has cracks in its mast — the latest malady for the ship, which has been out of money and docked for more than two years.