April 24, 2018
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Feds to auction off ‘robust’ 70-foot sailboat in Thomaston

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

THOMASTON, Maine — The U.S. Marshal’s Service will be auctioning off a 70-foot sailboat next week that already has 25,000 hours of craftsmen hours built into it.

The unfinished sailboat sits at Lyman Morse Boatbuilding in Thomaston.

The sailing vessel was commissioned in 2008 by Richard Lee, a citizen of the United Kingdom who resided in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The price of the boat was to be $3.69 million.

According to records filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Lee was required to make regular payments to Lyman Morse during the boat’s construction but he stopped making the payments.

“Unfortunately, the global recession has left me in a position where not only am I presently unable to fund the completion of the yacht, but regrettably, I cannot settle your outstanding invoices,” Lee told the boatyard in June 2010, according to court records.

Lee owed the boat yard $721,455 plus interest and storage fees as of August 2010 when the boatyard filed the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Brock Hornby ordered the sale in May 2012.

Steve Tofield of Lyman Morse said the former owner and the boat’s Norwegian designer Ulf Rogeberg had selected Lyman Morse to build the 70-foot Deerfield yacht.

“They looked at other yards around the world and selected us based on our reputation and experience in building boats,” Tofield said.

The boat had been under construction for about a year and a half and has an estimated 25,000 hours of work already put into it, Tofield said.

The vessel was custom made.

“We brought in the barrels of resin, planks of wood, and rolls of fiberglass,” Tofield said.

The public auction is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1 at Lyman Morse Boatbuilding at 84 Knox St. along Thomaston’s Harbor.

The hull molds and deck molds will also be up for sale at the auction.

The sale has been publicized in statewide newspapers.

Lyman Morse is allowed by the court to bid up to $500,000 and purchase the vessel without having to pay the U.S. Marshal or the court.

Tofield said if someone buys the boat, Lyman Morse would like to finish the work. He said the vessel could be ready for sailing by next year.

“It’s a really robust built 70-foot boat,” he said.

The boat has two engines which he said is unusual for sailboats of any size.

The vessel was designed and built with the intention of the former owner to sail through the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean.

The interior of the vessel has light colors with mahogany trim.

Lyman Morse was founded in 1978 on waterfront property that has served as a boatyard for more than 100 years, according to the company’s website.

“The combination of our state-of-the-art facility with some of the world’s finest craftsmen has allowed us to develop many areas of expertise, both in the marine and nonmarine world. We work with architects, interior designers, business and home owners, and boat owners to meet even the most unique need,” the company notes on its website.

Lyman Morse has built the foundation for what will be the tallest building in neighboring Rockland. The company plans to use many of its employees to build the nearly 65-foot tall retail/residential building at the intersection of Main and Pleasant streets.

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