Published Clips

One more in a series of articles published in the Martha’s Vineyard Times in 1999 and 2000 about the controversial, on-again-off-again construction of the Schooner Rebecca.

 

February 10, 2000

Schooner Under Construction is Repossessed; Work continues under creditor in possession.

Notices of possession were posted on the unfinished schooner Rebecca last week, even as workers laid the deck and finished interior details. The schooner is under construction by Vineyard Haven boatbuilders, Gannon and Benjamin in a shed behind Tisbury Marketplace in Vineyard Haven.

Construction began in January 1998 on the 60-foot schooner designed by Nat Benjamin for Chilmark moviemaker Dan Adams. After just over a year of work, the project was halted and the crew laid off last February while Mr. Adams addressed personal financial problems. In December, after ten months on hold, and amid tense relations between Mr. Adams and Gannon and Benjamin, the project was restarted with the goal of a June launch date.

Ross Gannon said at the time, "We've managed to come to a working arrangement with all the parties involved."

Last week, the primary lender for the Rebecca project, 3333, Inc., took possession of the unfinished schooner. When asked about the move this week, Mr. Benjamin said he and Mr. Gannon were informed that the lender was taking possession of the vessel in a recent bi-weekly meeting with Mr. Adams and Peter Normandin, sole proprietor of 3333, Inc.

The builders were required to post a notice of possession on the hull stating, "Pursuant to applicable law, this vessel and all parts, supplies and materials are now in possession of 3333, Inc., secured creditor and mortgagee." At the same meeting, Mr. Normandin assured the builders of his commitment to seeing the project through to completion.

"The lender is very eager to see the work completed and to see the boat launched," said Mr. Benjamin. "He's very pleased with the progress, and we're looking forward to a June launching."

Reached this week at his Westminster, Mass. home, Mr. Normandin said he is a "bridge lender" who provides high-interest loans to people who are going through financial difficulty and cannot get loans from more traditional sources.

"When you have a financial agreement there's certain collateral, and Dan's gone through tough financial times," he said of the move to take possession of the project, but stresses, "I'm not the owner of the boat. I'm just the man in charge." Mr. Normandin says he intends to remain the "creditor in possession" until Mr. Adams recovers financially and can resume possession, or until it becomes necessary to foreclose, in which case the vessel will be auctioned.
Mr. Normandin first heard about the Rebecca project through a broker just over a year ago and first saw the boat last June. He says he was interested because he has an appreciation for boats and had a wooden boat as a child.

"Some people drink. Some people gamble. I love boats," Mr. Normandin quips.

Mr. Normandin has been meeting with Mr. Gannon and Mr. Benjamin every other Saturday to oversee the project and says he is committed to finishing the project. He expressed faith in the ability and honesty of the builders.
Mr. Benjamin continues to oversee the construction, forging ahead with renewed determination, bent on a June launching. The hull of the schooner is complete, and the interior joinery is largely done, finished in glowing varnish. Tanks, plumbing and wiring are now being installed. The crew of half a dozen shipwrights is concentrating on laying the deck planks made of silverballi, a tropical hardwood sustainably harvested from the rainforests of Suriname and acquired through Vineyard-based Deep Water Ventures. Lumber for the spars has been purchased.

"Under Nat's direction, this boat will float. I can't supply any know-how, but I can supply the funds, and it will be finished," Mr. Normandin says, "The materials are in place, and Dan Adams has been very cooperative through this whole thing. I'm happy to be involved in the project to see this thing of art being built, but I'm sad that the owner is in the position he is in."

 

An Update: Dan Adams declared bankruptcy in 2000 and was forced to sell the still-unfinished schooner. Rebecca was launched under new owners in time for the 2001 sailing season.

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