"Guest List" yacht abandoned on Hampton Beach

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Unwanted 'Guest': Boat causes stir at Hampton Harbor

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, May 23, 2014

[The following articles are courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Guest List yacht
Guest List, an abandoned white boat registered out of
Newburyport, Mass., sits on the salt marshes at the end of
Tuttle Avenue at Hampton Beach in Alicia Preston’s back yard.
[Rich Beauchesne photo]

HAMPTON — The Seacoast area's newest resident celebrity has been entertaining locals for months, although the celebrity isn't a person. It's a giant boat, and one that has generated tales taller than the vessel itself.

Alicia Preston and her Hampton Harbor neighbors were enthralled when they first saw the 75-foot, engineless and captainless white yacht make aimless, meandering passes across the shallow waters, almost as if some bizarre movie were unfolding before their eyes.
VIDEO

The ship known as Guest List also has had no shortage of outlandish rumors on its manifest since it was first sighted.

There have been whispers that the tattered old Navy Burger yacht would be transformed into the area's newest restaurant, while many swear the vessel is fated for a fiery explosion in a Denzel Washington flick. Some even say the living quarters are being used as a secret pornography studio.

These rumors haven't just been floating through the Seacoast area — they've been barreling full steam ahead, and they've turned the yacht, which now sits idle and immobile in the marsh, into quite a spectacle.

Alicia Preston looks at "Guest List""It was humorous because we all just watched it slowly coming, slowly coming," said Preston. "There was a humorous side of it because it's this giant boat and no one's done anything about it."

There has always been a hint of fear within the comedy surrounding Guest List because it broke free of not one but two moorings after it was first brought to Hampton late last fall. Harbor officials said the yacht found its way to Hampton — after stops in ports in Massachusetts, Maine and the Portsmouth area— because the marina was thought to be the only one that had the space and ability to store the hulking shell of a boat for the Brazilian citizen who purchased it.

Guest List proved otherwise not long after arriving in Hampton, as it broke free and floated throughout the harbor, nearly striking the bridge. It was temporarily subdued by its second mooring in January, although the boat once again set itself free to embark on an unmanned voyage.

Complicating the matter was the fact that harbor and state officials were completely unsuccessful in making contact with the owner of the "fiberglass monster" because he returned to Brazil, according to Jim Patenaude, the service manager at Hampton Harbor Boatworks.

Officials thought they found the solution for their white whale by grounding it — with permission from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, according to Chief Harbor Master Tracy Shattuck— along the marsh adjacent to its original mooring and behind Preston's 25 Tuttle Ave. home.

That's when the saga's script fully flipped from a comedy to a thriller for harborside residents.

Each passing storm and high tide reportedly drew the boat closer and closer to the homes in the area, including one particularly rough day where Preston's mother Judy, the owner of 25 Tuttle Ave., thought it would come crashing through her window.

"It wasn't funny anymore," said Preston. "The humor went a little bit awry when it almost knocked my house down."

The slow creep through the muck ripped a large hole in the underside of the yacht, causing its stern to sink deep into the mud and fully halt its journey, according to Patenaude. Despite this, the legend of Guest List has continued, as the yacht has now sat idle for over three months and has caused a new slate of issues, much to the displeasure of Hampton residents and officials.

"People are very concerned," said Town Manager Fred Welch. "It's a mess."

The vessel has begun disturbing the inlet in its current location, causing water to pool and flow past the yacht into an area with wetlands, possibly in violation of state law, according to Welch. The yacht's deck has also reportedly become a popular spot for late-night drinking parties, and as Memorial Day weekend arrives locals are worried about who would be liable should someone get injured while partying atop Guest List because town, police, port and state officials all claim they don't have jurisdiction over the location in which the boat is grounded.

You can call Preston frustrated.

"I have tried like hell to get someone to do something about it," said Preston. "The boat's just too big for here. There's just no reason it was here in the first place."

While Guest List has been idle for months, Shattuck said it's not because the yacht is abandoned or forgotten. Shattuck said the boat has remained stuck in the marsh because it can't be removed until marina space opens up in Newburyport, Mass., which he said is the only area port with both the equipment needed to haul a 75-foot yacht out of the marsh and properly store it.

Patenaude said it'll "probably" be sometime around "the first week of June" before that happens, as space for the boat will only be found in Newburyport after individuals claim the boats that they stored there for the winter. Then, Guest List will reportedly receive its finishing restoration touches and an engine before its owners drive it to Florida to reportedly use it as a house boat.

Patenaude said it'll cost a small fortune to perform all of this work, which is part of the reason why Hampton Harbor accepted the yacht in the first place. That said, even though a good chunk of that revenue will be coming to his business, Patenaude said Guest List has caused enough of a headache that he's more eager about the day he can finally bid it bon voyage.

"(It) would make a good artificial reef right now," said Patenaude, joking that it would be "great" if the vessel just sunk. "I'm tired of looking at it, that's for sure."


'Guest List' mystery boat now a tourist attraction

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, May 30, 2014

Guest List yacht
A large white boat with no engine or rudder sits in the salt marshes
near the Hampton Marina. Hampton Beach resident Alicia Preston has
voiced concern as to who should remove the shell named Guest List.
[Rich Beauchesne photo]

HAMPTON — Dozens upon dozens of people have flooded a couple of small Hampton Harbor streets over the past week to get a glimpse at "Guest List" after news reports started publicizing the zany rumors and spectacle surrounding the beached 75-foot white yacht.

The boat had floated around the harbor for days multiple times earlier this year after breaking two different moorings, and it has been the subject of concern since February after it became entrenched in the local marsh. Guest List has also been rumored to be a pornography studio, while others have claimed it would be exploded in a Denzel Washington movie.

The Hampton Union broke the story about the shell of a boat on May 23, and Hampton Harbor resident Alicia Preston jokingly said she could've made a killing in the week that followed had she charged admission to all of the people who drove down just to see the vessel.

"They're still coming," said Preston. "Dozens have come down. At least many dozens (of people)."

The old Navy Burger yacht was brought to Hampton late last year because its marina was thought to be the only one in the area with the space and means to store the boat for its Brazilian owner, who told harbor officials he planned to fully refinish it into a vessel upon which he could live off the coast of Florida.

The moorings in Hampton Harbor proved to be inadequate. Further complicating the matter was the fact that the Guest List's owner was back home in Brazil and couldn't be reached during the period that the yacht was floating in the harbor. He also couldn't be reached during the period that Guest List started creeping toward Preston's 25 Tuttle Ave. home in February after it was intentionally grounded behind her property.

The wandering, captainless boat was a humorous sight for those in the area, although frustrations started to grow because Preston and others started to hear conflicting reports from officials about the boat's future and who had jurisdiction over the vessel while its beached location.

Harbor officials told the Hampton Union that the boat was beached with the intention of leaving it there until it could be removed in June. It can't be removed until June because that's when marina space will open up in Newburyport, Mass., which officials said is the only area port with both the equipment needed to haul a 75-foot yacht out of the marsh and properly store it.

The boat's owner is funding the removal and still owns the vessel, according to harbor officials.

Frustrations have resurfaced in recent days, though, after TV stations picked up the story about Guest List. Preston said some individuals have refuted some of the information they originally gave her about jurisdiction, although harbor officials and Preston insist that the yacht is still slated for removal in the immediate future.

"Stories have changed in the past 48 hours, but at the end of the day if the boat's removed and no one's hurt in the process and the marsh (isn't permanently damaged by the beached vessel), then I'm happy," said Preston. "I hope it's resolved."


Hampton saying bon voyage soon to beached Guest List

By Corinne Holroyd

Hampton Union, June 5, 2014

HAMPTON — The yacht stuck in Hampton Harbor will soon be on its way out.

The 75-foot Guest List has been grounded since it broke two moorings, washed up on the marshes and suffered damage that left a gaping hole in the vessel. Mike Wheeler, owner of Hampton Harbor Boatworks, said the yacht's owners, Marcelo and Andresa Nunes, are sending a check to repair and move the boat. Wheeler said he will start the process of removing the boat around June 14.

HHB service manager Jim Patenaude has been in contact with Andresa Nunes and said temporary repairs will cost $6,000 to $8,000. The company will then raise the boat and send it to the Merri-Mar Yacht Basin on the Merrimack River in Newburyport, Mass., where repairs will be completed.

After the Nunes family bought the yacht in Newburyport, the plan for it — according to a May 31 Boston Globe article — was for the family to buy motors and have them installed at HHB. Then they were going to sail to Miami, Fla., sell the motors and make the yacht a permanent family home. Andresa Nunes explained it was her family's dream to do so.

According to Patenaude, the family ran into a string of bad luck. The family paid a man for two motors so they could travel to Miami, but he went out of business and they lost thousands of dollars. The Nunes family, however, had already sold their Miami home and moved to Brazil, according to the Boston Globe. Patenaude said Marcelo Nunes then used the family's money to start a security company in Brazil to try to take advantage of the upcoming World Cup. That business failed. Soon, the insurance on the boat lapsed and the family was left with no option but to leave it until they could make enough money to pay for its repair and removal.

Patenaude said Andresa Nunes and the couple's children have moved back to her native Mexico. He said the family is leaning toward selling the boat, saying they cannot afford to get the yacht to Miami and that Hampton Harbor Boatworks will help broker the sale.

Wheeler said he has heard of "three or four" interested buyers, but added more buyers may come with the publicity surrounding the boat. Rumors swirled in the Seacoast, including that the yacht was being used as a pornography studio or that it would be blown up in a Denzel Washington movie.

When the Hampton Union published a story about the boat on May 23, it became a tourist attraction. HHB has since put up a no trespassing sign after one of the rudders — costing up to $2,000 — was stolen. "If we see anyone on it, we can just call the cops," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the marshes where Guest List is entrenched were not damaged and the yacht is empty of fuel, so none leaked out.


'Guest List' Still Beached at Harbor

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, July 8, 2014

HAMPTON — Hampton Beach's now-infamous accidental attraction has overstayed its visit, and officials say it'll likely be that way for the foreseeable future.

A beached, hollow 75-foot yacht named "Guest List" was due for removal from the shores of Hampton Harbor in June.

That never happened, though, and the port that was scheduled to receive the vessel says Guest List's owners' "financial crisis" has led to a state of "limbo."

"I don't know why someone here would want to haul it and be stuck with it because it's all up in the air because (no one knows) who's going to pay for it," said Paul Hogg, the Newburyport, Mass., harbormaster. "I'm glad it's in Hampton and not Newburyport."

Guest List has been a tourist attraction and hot spot for illegal parties since newspaper stories in May detailed the rumors surrounding the vessel.

The yacht broke multiple moorings since it was brought to Hampton late last year, and that led to an intentional grounding that tore a large hole in the underside of the vessel.

Marcelo and Andresa Nunes, Mexican citizens who live in Brazil, purchased Guest List in Newburyport with the intention of adding motors to it and renovating it into their permanent family home.

The Nunes family paid a man to install two motors, although they lost that money because that man's company went out of business. The Nuneses also lost a large sum of money while unsuccessfully trying to start a security company in Brazil, and the insurance on the boat has also lapsed.

Guest List was slated for removal from Hampton Harbor in mid June, although Hogg said it has been "sitting around (and) lingering" past that date due to these financial problems.

Despite reports the Nuneses have sent a check to Hampton Harbor Boatworks (HHB) — the company that was going to make temporary repairs so the yacht could be transported to Newburyport — Hogg said several individuals are now "pointing fingers" about the boat's responsibility.

Hogg also said "no one" has contacted Newburyport about a new removal or transportation date even though New Hampshire officials say the plan still is to transport Guest List to Massachusetts.

"I definitely (won't) allow it to come to Newburyport unless (repairs are made)," said Hogg. "They're definitely not going to tow it here (in its current state)."

Tracy Shattuck, New Hampshire's chief harbormaster, said there has "been no change" in the status of Guest List or the efforts to get it removed.

Shattuck deferred additional comment to HHB officials, although HHB officials haven't returned calls for comment over the last two weeks.

In the meantime, concerns about the yacht continue to grow as Hampton Harbor residents continue to see signs of partying on and in the boat.

Alicia Preston, whose Tuttle Avenue home abuts the land upon which Guest List is beached, said "people are on it all the time" and that it also still poses a threat to the surrounding wetlands.

Preston said she believes one of the departments or businesses involved with beaching and monitoring the yacht should "take responsibility" for removing if its owners no longer want it or no longer have the financial means to remedy the situation.

"If the boat isn't moved, this situation isn't over," said Preston. "At this point it's just upsetting, it's ugly, it's an eyesore, and it's a danger."


State seizes unwanted Hampton 'Guest'

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, July 15, 2014

HAMPTON — The state has decided to seize "Guest List" days after two arrests were made in connection with an alleged party atop the beached 75-foot-long white yacht.

Guest List has been beached along Hampton Harbor since February, and Chief Harbor Master Tracy Shattuck said Monday that the boat's seizure "starts the clock ticking" on the vessel's long-awaited removal.

"We have been trying to work with the folks who own it, and we had cooperation and we hope we still will," said Shattuck. "Nothing had happened. They told us they would and they were unable to make it occur, so we felt it was time to take the next step. If it spurs action, that's wonderful. If not, we have recourse now."

The seizure means Guest List will remain in place over the course of the next 90 days, according to Shattuck.

If owners Marcelo and Andresa Nunes don't remove the vessel by Oct. 12, it becomes property of the state and will be removed by the state.

The seizure comes less than a week after two juveniles were arrested on alcohol-related charges after an alleged party atop Guest List.

Deputy Chief Rich Sawyer said one boy was charged with unlawful possession of alcohol and one 16-year-old girl was charged with driving while intoxicated and transportation of alcoholic beverages after police responded to the vessel around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

There had been some question as to who has jurisdiction over the engineless shell of a yacht, which was intentionally grounded along the marshes near several Tuttle Avenue houses in February after it broke multiple moorings and on multiple occasions floated aimlessly through Hampton Harbor.

Sawyer said his department has not been instructed by any parties to restrict access to the boat, and he said Wednesday's charges stem from the fact that police found illegal activity involving alcohol when they arrived.

Shattuck said the arrests — the first police have made in connection with an incident involving Guest List — didn't "really" play a factor in the state's seizure.

"It certainly makes us question whether there's a public safety hazard there, but we've been advised there's not that much activity," he said.

A certified letter will be sent to the Nuneses' current address in Mexico in order to inform them of the seizure.

In addition to removing it on their own, Shattuck said the owners have the option of waiving the 90-day period. This would allow the state to remove the vessel "more quickly," he said.

The state doesn't yet have an estimate for how much the removal would cost because it could require a bidding process and the use of a barge.

"There are too many questions before we determine what the prices will be," said Shattuck.

Guest List has been sitting along Hampton Harbor for months because marina officials were waiting for the Nuneses to send funds to repair the boat so it can be transported to Newburyport, Mass.

The Nuneses, who are Mexican citizens, purchased the boat with the intention of reconstructing it and using it as a house boat off the coast of Florida, marina officials have said.

The couple's financial problems delayed those plans and the yacht's original removal date in mid June.

Guest List has become a tourist attraction due to news reports and numerous farfetched rumors about its origin.

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