Historic Whale Watching Schooner Sails Away From Fairwinds

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PROVINCETOWN, Mass. – Hope emerged for a group of historic-minded landlubbers last week, when a federal court approved their purchase of a 75-foot schooner, the Hindu, which helped launch the whale watching industry here in the 1940s, from Florida’s Fairwinds CU.

The South Shore Schooner Society plans to repair the boat, restore its skipper Kevin Foley as captain, and transport it north from Key West, Fla., where it sunk in 10 feet of water in 2009 the day after she was seized by U.S. Marshall’s as part of the credit union’s foreclosure. The group is made up of people who have either sailed on the Hindu’s whale watching excursions out of Cape Cod, crewed on her or just have a special feeling for the historic preservation of a local landmark.

Fairwinds ended up with the 85-year-old schooner because Foley’s chief investor, unknown to Foley, had taken out a $500,000 loan with the credit union using the Hindu as collateral. When the investor stopped making payments the credit union foreclosed on the loan.

The Orlando credit union, owed some $336,000 on a $500,000 mortgage and line of credit, initially tried to find a buyer for $400,000, but lowered its price to $250,000 after the Hindu sunk.

Plans call for the Hindu to resume its whale watching tours in summers and autumns off New England, and to sail off Key West in winters.

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