Maritime Lecture Series- Building Schooner Huron Jewel

What does it take to build a tall ship? Capt. Hugh Covert and his wife Julie give an engaging presentation about working for three years, seven days a week, to build Schooner Huron Jewel, with the help of over 50 volunteers and 24 gallons of peanut butter pretzels. Come see why it was worth them emptying their retirement accounts to make this Great Lakes dream come true. The Coverts will be presenting at the Michigan Maritime Museum Wednesday, April 17th from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

Built on Drummond Island, a remote island in the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Schooner Huron Jewel is a shallow draft, centerboard schooner designed by Capt. Hugh for the waters of the Great Lakes. She is 60 feet on deck and 78 feet overall, made of fiberglass, epoxy, and over 20 types of wood. With standing headroom throughout, she sleeps ten people and yet only needs two crew to sail her. She offers sailing trips to the public through the Covert’s business Drummond Island Tall Ship Company.

A New Year’s Eve conversation about bucket list dreams was the impetus for building Schooner Huron Jewel. Sailing and boat building since he was four years old, this is Capt. Hugh’s ninth and largest boat to build. Is there anything more rewarding than crossing an item off one’s bucket list? For the Coverts it was sailing her. On June 23, 2018 Schooner Huron Jewel touched water for the first time and had her maiden voyage on August 6, 2018. It had been three long years working year-round, including working in an unheated boat house. Many mornings, especially those cold icy Michigan mornings were started with, “We gotta get up, we have a boat to build.”

The Coverts live off-the-grid on Drummond Island. Capt. Hugh holds a USCG 500 Ton Near Coastal Masters license. With over four decades of experience, he has been at the helm of modern and traditional vessels – from tugboats to brigantines and tall masted schooners. Julie loves anything related to water. When she met Capt. Hugh she knew she’d have to learn to love sailing. A retired massage therapist, she is a published photographer, author, and newspaper publisher, who is not afraid of hard work. She grew up in her father’s woodworking shop, so working with wood is enjoyable to her, although she never imagined that she’d wind up building a tall ship. Come find out what drove the Coverts to make this dream a reality.

The lecture will take place in the Museum’s main exhibit space. Admission is $8, $7 for seniors. There is no admission fee for Museum members. The Museum will be open beginning at noon the day of the lecture and 10am-5pm Fridays and Saturdays the month of April and 7 days a week beginning May 1st. For more information, contact the Museum at 269-637-8078 ext. 3 or visit