Plan floated, but boat still aground in Hampden

Posted Aug. 16, 2011, at 8:15 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 16, 2011, at 8:31 p.m.
The owner of this rusty 57-foot fishing vessel, which sits on a Hampden mudflat near the Bangor town line, and Department of Environmental Protection crews work Friday morning to install air bags that are designed to make the boat float when the tide comes in Friday afternoon. The Eastern Star, which was formerly named the Roamer, sank in January while parked at the Rockland pier and ran aground Wednesday night, July 20, 2011, in a small cove near Hampden's Waterfront Marine.
Nok-Noi Ricker
The owner of this rusty 57-foot fishing vessel, which sits on a Hampden mudflat near the Bangor town line, and Department of Environmental Protection crews work Friday morning to install air bags that are designed to make the boat float when the tide comes in Friday afternoon. The Eastern Star, which was formerly named the Roamer, sank in January while parked at the Rockland pier and ran aground Wednesday night, July 20, 2011, in a small cove near Hampden's Waterfront Marine.

HAMPDEN, Maine — Almost a month after it ran aground on a mudflat in a small cove, a 57-foot fishing boat remains stuck, but its owner is floating a plan he thinks will have it free and clear.

“It’s really a nonstory here. If I can get it up a little straighter I can get it off the cove,” said Josh Mizrachi, who owns the The Eastern Star, a fishing boat formerly known as the Roamer, which was built in 1964. “I have to plug all those seeping leaks between the planks to restore the integrity of the hull and then we can get it floated off and out of there.”

Mizrachi, who bought the boat after finding it abandoned on a mooring in midcoast Maine, said Tuesday his salvage effort has been complicated by manpower, time and tide.

“It’s kind of a hard thing to do. I’ll be doing the repairs by myself, and I’m limited by the tide, which is only low for two hours of the day,” said Mizrachi, who also owns Ace Taxi in Bangor. “The biggest problem is getting a tow truck or another boat to pull it up because of its location. That being said, I am making steady progress, depending on the weather.”

Town Manager Susan Lessard said Mizrachi has assured the Town Council that he will have the issue resolved by the Sept. 15 council meeting.

“His intention is to repair it and keep it from being demolished, so we’ll see if that’s possible,” Lessard said.

The boat ran aground July 20 after Mizrachi lost control of it.

“A guy I considered a friend used the boat without my permission and fouled up the propeller on the mooring line and then tried to cover up the damage without telling me what happened,” he said. “The next time I took it out for a cruise, mooring line was wrapped around the prop shaft. The engine was working well, but it wouldn’t go anywhere when I put it in gear, so it drifted into the cove.”

An attempt to free the boat at high tide with air bags July 22 failed as the boat quickly refilled with water and sank back down to the flat.

“It’s a an old, tired boat in need of repair. There’s not substantial damage to the boat, but there are several places where water is seeping in and we’re running out of time,” Mizrachi said. “This was well-made with sawn frames that were carved from solid, big pieces of wood and they’re much stronger than steam-bent frames.”

The Roamer sank on Jan. 15 at the Rockland fish pier, requiring intervention from the Coast Guard and Department of Environmental Protection.

“I bought it from the owner about a year ago. It didn’t have an engine or generator that worked so I towed it to Rockland and had an engine put in,” Mizrachi said. “I brought it up here to Bangor in May and I’ve been working on it ever since.”

Learning the boat’s extensive history has made restoring it a personal crusade for Mizrachi, who says he has invested a tremendous amount of time and energy in the boat already.

“My plans were to gradually repair and restore it to its former glory,” Mizrachi said. “It was built in Thomaston by Newbert and Wallace, a world-renowned shipyard that no longer exists.”

Mizrachi vows the boat will float again.

“I’ll get it off the bottom and then take it for a victory lap,” he said.

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