Greenport Village hopes to lure mega yachts

03/01/2013 3:00 PM |
MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | The Intuition II, shown here in 2012, is one of the largest private yachts in the world, docked each summer across the bay in Sag Harbor.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | The Intuition II, shown here in 2012, is one of the largest private yachts in the world. It’s docked each summer across the bay in Sag Harbor.

The Greenport Village Board voted Monday night to approve on electrical upgrades to the east pier at Mitchell Park Marina, a project that could cost as much as $400,000.

The village will pay for the work by floating bonds, with the expectation that some of the expense will be recovered through increased revenue from the rental of docks with upgraded electrical connections, Mayor David Nyce said at Monday’s meeting.

The move is aimed at luring mega yachts, some of whose captains are in negotiations to help Greenport foot the bill for the electrical power, to the deepwater port, the mayor said.

Many of those mega yachts dock part-time in Sag Harbor, but when their owners aren’t on board, professional captains and crews have the option to dock where they please, said Mr. Nyce, adding that many captains prefer to be in Greenport.

“The owners don’t care but the crews would prefer to be here than Sag Harbor,” he said. “It’s easier to get in and out [of the port] and there’s more for them to do.

“We’re in a Catch 22 with mega yachts. They do bring in a lot of money,” said Mr. Nyce, adding that the yachts also require expanded services. “I’m comfortable we’ll realize a return on that investment.”

Also at Monday’s board meeting, fisherman Sidney Smith asked the board why they were allowing the New York City fireboat Fire Fighter to dock at the railroad dock, which he said is supposed to be reserved for commercial fishermen.

Mr. Smith said he believes there’s a severe problem with electrolysis in the water surrounding the pier, which causes premature rusting and deterioration of metal boat materials.

He said his own boat has 60 zincs on its keel, small detachable pieces of zinc attached to the hull to absorb the electrolysis. He said he has to replace them all each year at a cost of $75 apiece.

“You’ve got a lot of problems down there. There are live electrical wires everywhere, wires in the water,” he said. “There’s electrolysis down there to beat the band. I give it a year and a half [for the fireboat] and you’ve got a problem.

The fireboat is currently docked at Mitchell Park Marina pending a determination by Suffolk County on whether it can dock at the railroad pier instead.

“I’m not against any fireboat,” said Mr. Smith, “but it’s filled in there. I draw 11.5 feet in the middle of the dock and I churn up mud. That boat’s not going to fit in there. If it goes up there, it’ll never get out of there.”

Mr. Nyce said the village intends to work out the docking logistics with the owners of boats currently using the railroad dock.

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