Edwin McCain's flipped boat raises $82K for MUSC Children's Hospital

February 16, 2016
Edwin McCain and Darius Rucker in the restored boat, Harmony
Edwin McCain and Darius Rucker donated Harmony to the MUSC Children's Hospital for auction. Photo by Travis Dew Photography


Two recording superstars and one old boat transformed into $82,000 for the MUSC Children’s Hospital, thanks to plenty of labor and love.

Singer-songwriter Edwin McCain, the man behind the hit songs “I’ll Be,” “I Could Not Ask for More” and “Solitude,” long has supported the children’s hospital. The Greenville native performed benefit concerts over the years, often teaming up with Darius Rucker, with whom McCain toured during Rucker’s Hootie and the Blowfish days.

Those aspects of Edwin McCain are well documented. A lesser known fact comes in the form of a confession: “I’m a chronic restorer of old things,” McCain said recently. “Motorcycles, Army jeeps, boats, buses, campers – I’m constantly tinkering.”

He wanted to find a way that he could get his hobby to pay for itself but also benefit a cause he believes in. He also knew that the people he works with on his restoration projects at his Boats Have Souls workshop are more entertaining than most reality show celebrities -- and so an idea was born.

Animal Planet picked up McCain’s business for a six-part series called “Flipping Ships,” in which he and his team restored a new boat each episode. The show kicked off with a beat-up 1968 Sea King speedboat that McCain wanted to rehabilitate for his buddy, Rucker.

Rucker agreed to the gift on one condition – that he and McCain could auction it off to benefit the MUSC Children’s Hospital. Rucker and his wife, Beth, co-chair the campaign for the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

McCain paid $500 for the boat and not only restored its engine but transformed its exterior to candy-apple red and white with mahogany accents. He hid a blue-tooth equipped radio system and speakers with custom musical note embroidery. He named the boat Harmony.

Seven crew members worked 15-hour days for weeks straight. “I had the idea that I was going to be home with my kids more, but it turned out I was home less often,” McCain said. “But it was fun, because no one would ever hire to you to do that with a little boat. It’s a piece of history from an era of boating where fiberglass made it affordable for anyone to own a boat.”

McCain delivered Harmony to Rucker at Red’s Ice House, the same place on Shem Creek where the men had met to devise their plan on how this little speedboat could benefit the children’s hospital.

“They took it from something that couldn’t even be on the water to something really beautiful and incredible,” Rucker said. “I’m really excited. We’re going to raise a lot of money.”

The two musicians then delivered Harmony to the children’s hospital’s Bulls Bay Golf Tournament auction, where two local families entered into a friendly bidding war. In the end, Lisa and Joe Rice agreed to pay $40,000, and Tommy Baker paid $42,000, but Baker let the Rices keep the boat.

Lisa Rice said she went to the auction with her eye on Harmony, which reminds her old of the Chris-Craft boats she saw growing up on Lake Murray. “We’ll bring it out as soon as the wind is calm enough,” she said.

McCain calls the auction “the little event that could,” a fundraiser that he enjoys attending every year.

“This is the best part of my career, the stewardship segment,” McCain said. “This is the good stuff.”