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Spring 2012 (Issue No. 55)



The video below shows NOTORIOUS departing the Knoxville, TN, marina under her own power.  That marina on the Tennessee River had been her home for the past 10 years.

Click the arrow in the center of the player above to start the video of NOTORIOUS departing Knoxville.  Next stop, Alabama.







UPDATE 8/26/2014:  NOTORIOUS suffers grave injury while being pulled from the water.  Here's a photo emailed to BYB showing her aft section crushed.  The WHNT news story link below has additional photos, one showing the forward third of the boat missing. 


UPDATE 8/25/2014: NOTORIOUS Found -- Unfortunately.

Well, I've been trying to locate NOTORIOUS for well over a year now, but this is not how I wanted to find her. Starting Friday afternoon (8/22/2014) and continuing through Monday (8/25/2014) members of the old boat community have been emailing me links to news stories about NOTORIOUS sinking at the dock at Ditto Landing Marina on the Tennessee River in Huntsville, Alamaba. Sounds like she was partially submerged by Friday morning -- likely sitting on the bottom -- and raised by crane Saturday evening. One news story claimed the owner was out of the country and efforts were being made to contact him.

A self-professed "Lover of Old Stuff and Boats" named Jerry just emailed the following account of the situation in Huntsville:

"It's a pretty shallow basin, so it didn't submerge completely. I went to check it out Sunday afternoon. It's not pretty. They evidently brought in divers from Chattanooga, TN to refloat the vessel. That part apparently went alright. Then they moved the boat to the end of the marina basin and lifted it partly out of the water using a large mobile crane (MOBILE crane -- the marina doesn't have a stationary crane). As of Sunday afternoon the boat was hanging from two slings and spreaders, partly in the water, much like in the photo you ran in 2012.

"Unfortunately, there was obvious damage to the hull on the s'bd side near the stern where the weight of the boat rested on the lifting sling. I personally would have used a wider sling or placed some bearing material between the hull and the 4-6" (guessing?) slings they used, but there may have been reasons they couldn't do this. At any rate, there's a crushed spot in the hull probably at least 18" across and at least as tall. The damage could extend below the waterline -- couldn't really tell. The hull didn't show any sign of buckling as a previous owner apparently feared, and it seemed like the keel was holding the weight, so maybe the only damage was to the side.

"What caused it to sink is anyone's guess at this point. Maybe the damaged spot in the hull was already weak and had given way prior to being lifted. That's the only hole I saw in the hull, but as I said the hull was still partly afloat and not completely visible. As previous articles in BYB suggested, there's no way to transport this vessel by land, so I have no idea what they plan to do with her now. Ditto Landing has plenty of real estate where the boat could be cribbed and worked on, but then the owner would have to get her back in the water at some point -- something the marina is not equipped to do."

Links to various news stories follow:


UPDATE: Crews attempt to lift 78-foot boat partially sunken at Huntsville's Ditto Landing; has quite a history

Posted 9:50 am, August 22, 2014, by Claire Aiello, Daniela Perallon and Catherine Awasthi, Updated at 08:41am, August 25, 2014



Crews working to raise 'Notorious' out of the water

Posted 10:07 pm, August 24, 2014, by Catherine Awasthi, Updated at 10:13pm, August 24, 2014



Yacht formerly owned by American president sinking in Ditto Landing

Posted: Aug 22, 2014 12:55 PM EST Updated: Aug 24, 2014 3:40 PM EST

By Christyn Owens



Yacht Charlton Heston reportedly called home during 'Planet of the Apes' sinks at Huntsville's Ditto Landing

Leada Gore

on August 22, 2014 at 1:43 PM, updated August 23, 2014 at 8:41 AM




A lot of people have asked about the status of the 1953 Feadship 82'.  Here's what I believe to be the story of NOTORIOUS. BYB was contacted by a marina in TN that had become the reluctant owners of NOTORIOUS and wanted/needed her out of there.  Fortunately, the marina manager had a soft spot for the old boat. A BYB Email campaign to the Bone Yard Boats community on March 6th listing NOTORIOUS as "free to a good home" yielded a ton of interest in the boat. A BYB subscriber named Benson, also of TN, was the first one to make contact with the marina and inspect the boat. Ownership was transferred to him on March 19th.

Benson told me that he then invested time and money into the boat and got her running again. He fell on some hard times and found it necessary to sell the boat; that's what he told me. I'm pretty sure she went for $21K in an eBay auction at the end of June.

In an August 7th email, Benson told me that he had been hired as her captain by the new owner to bring her from TN to NJ. At that time, he was just wrapping up a 2-week trip bringing the Feadship down the Tennessee River to the Huntsville area of Alabama.

Then on August 12th, another BYB subscriber gave me a heads-up that the Feadship was once again being auctioned on eBay. This time, she had a "Buy It Now" price of $250,000! Based on what I could see on eBay on 9/8/12, it looks like the winning bid in a subsequent auction that ended September 5th was $29,100.

BYB subscriber Benson was able to confirm that she has changed hands for the 3rd time since March.  Here's an excerpt of 9/12/12 his email:

"This whole thing is such a roller coaster. Yes the boat did sell to a gentleman named Richard. He asked me to pilot the ship this weekend to a marina 40 miles from Guntersville to Decatur, AL. I was also asked to oversee the refit of some work on the boat. The plan is to make some repairs at the new marina for about 60 days then pilot the ship into the gulf down to Florida. I will keep you posted as events happen this weekend as to what is happening to the boat. I have already make 3 trips down to her to make sure the lines were good and that all the dewatering systems were operational."

A few days later on September 17th, I received an email from a guy named Jason with another NOTORIOUS sighting confirming that Benson made it to Decatur:

"Hello, I am located at RiverWalk Marina located in Decatur AL. The boat is docked there for a period of time. I had the pleasure of taking a tour of the boat. WOW what a boat. I could just imagine that thing when it was it its prime. The owner said he was going to restore it. It was nice of him to let us take a look at it. It was like stepping back in time. I wished I could see it when it gets done. I just wanted to give you an update. Oh and he is headed south with boat. Thank you. I hope you find this useful."

New BYB subscriber Mike W., provided another NOTORIOUS sighting update on September 30th:  "I found your site by researching the 83' MY Yacht Serano II, now called Notorious. I just came from the Marina in Decatur Alabama and she is in rough shape, but beautiful none the less.  Yep, that boat is a sad sight, but you can still see the beauty in the boat. Someone closed in the aft deck area. That's weird, because if you don't like the sun then more than likely you shouldn't have a boat."

So, yes this boat was presented to the Bone Yard Boats community with an asking price of "free to a good home" back in March and her ownership transferred on those terms. When boats are listed as being "free to a good home" in Bone Yard Boats, the presumption is that a "good home" has the intention, desire, skills and/or resources to restore the boat to operating condition. At this point, I still consider the story of NOTORIOUS to be a successful save because -- as far as I know -- she is still afloat and able to operate under her own power. My hope is that she ends up being restored, and floating and running is a great place to start.

Following is the story of NOTORIOUS as it unfolded in March and April in chronological order (sort of):


1953 FEADSHIP 82'. I was contacted by Joe C., marina manager in Knoxville, TN, alerting Bone Yard Boats to the fact that he had a 1953 FEADSHIP 82' at his marina that is need of a new home. According to Joe, the boat has been at his marina for 10 years and has had 3 owners in that time, including one bank. The latest owner turned the boat over to the marina board of directors, who instructed Joe to get it out of the marina. "I just have a heart for the boat and hate to see another bit of history gone. I hate to see the boat destroyed for lack of interest. Any help is appreciated." (Thank you, Joe!)

Her current name is NOTORIOUS and she was formerly EXUBERANCE. The boat has twin diesels, and Joe says she "runs good." Joe also thought: "It was the flagship for the sailboat races in the 1986 world cup in Australia. Rumors are it had some value with one of the presidents. Also a picture of Charlton Heston was in this boat for some time with the former owners."

Up until a few days ago, this statement pretty well sums up what I knew about Feadship: If I were a captain of industry, royalty, or otherwise found myself with tens of millions of dollars and in the market for a 250' mega-yacht, Feadship would probably be one of my first phone calls. However, I really hadn't thought about the fact that they probably didn't start out building 250-footers. In fact, I now know that they started much, much smaller, but that bit of shipbuilding history will have to wait for now. We have a boat to rescue!

I set out to find some more information about NOTORIOUS, and my first stop was Feadship in Holland. An email to their generic "info@" email address with an attached boat photo prompted a quick response from Erik B., a representative of Feadship naval architecture firm De Voogt Yacht Services. Erik searched their archives and did not believe that NOTORIOUS was one of their designs. He pointed me in the direction of another Dutch designer, De Vries Lentsch.

Let me just say right here that the willingness of people in the boating industry to help out never ceases to amaze me. Erik did offer up, "Privately I own a 30 ft. sailing yacht (halftonner) from 1977 and nearly completed the restoration." I daresay he's one of us!

Next, I sent an email to the "info@" email address for De Vries Lentsch. Bingo! In less than 2 hours, I had a response from Willem de Vries Lentsch:

Subject: m.y. notorious

Dear David Irving,

The m.y. Notorious is one of the 4 (82FT) FEADSHIP wooden yachts constructed by my family yard de VRIES LENTSCH in the fifties. Her original name was SERENO II. The construction is a double mahogany hull with canvas between. The year of construction was 1953. Original the boat had a lower aft deck / cockpit at the stern.

Some original drawings are in my archive. It would be great if the yacht can be restored in her former glory. I wonder what her actual condition is, as this looks bad on your photo.

Also the same question concerning the interior and machinery.

For your information I send you the picture how she was shipped to the USA, and one at the date of delivery from De VRIES LENTSCH shipyard.

Awaiting your news,

Best regards,

Willem de Vries Lentsch

It is well-known that I am a sucker for old black & white boat photos, but the two pictures Mr. de Vries Lentsch sent are absolutely beautiful -- from the perspective of both boat design and history. One shows her on a railway ramp on what appears to be her launch day complete with a covered dinghy hanging from the davits on her cabin top. The other shows her in the slings of a barge-mounted crane lifting her onto the deck of a ship for passage to the U.S. I have to admit that I was at first a bit skeptical that the boat in the 1950's photos was the same one shown of the boat in the Tennessee River. However, when comparing the pics very closely, you can tell they are the same boat. The first thing you notice -- that smoke stack is a later addition!

Her Coast Guard Vessel Documentation record (#502359) says she's 79' long with a 9' hull depth and 18.7' hull breadth. Gross tonnage is 109, net tonnage is 101. Joe thought that she was 96', and Willem says she was built as an 82-footer.

NOTORIOUS is free to a good home with the right person or organization who can get her back into shape. She's located in Knoxville, TN. I'm not certain, but I believe the Tennessee River forms part of the Great Loop with access to Mobile, Alabama, on the Gulf Coast.

Contact Joe at [contact removed] (TN)


UPDATE 3/21/12: I heard from both Joe at the marina in Knoxville, as well as BYB subscriber and new owner Benson H. of Tennessee, that NOTORIOUS officially changed hands on 3/19/12 and is no longer available. More details coming soon.

UPDATE 4/24/12:  Following are several email excerpts that help show how the NOTORIOUS story unfolded after the email campaign launched:

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe C. (Marina Manager)
Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
To: ''Bone Yard Boats - David Irving''
Subject: RE: 1956 Feadship

Thanks so much for all of your help. The response has been awesome!

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve (BYB Subscriber)
Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
To: Bone Yard Boats
Subject: Re: 1953 Feadship 82' Motoryacht

Hi David -- just thought you'd like to know that Joe at Knoxville Marina has been overwhelmed with response he credits to Bone Yard Boats. I am #3 in line for consideration of adopting Notorious. May be more to bite off than I can chew, but would love the chance to try. Since I live in Gallatin, TN (on the Cumberland River), and because she does run, there is a chance I could bring her here to begin the restoration process. That's what makes this one desirable.

Thanks for your great work.


-----Original Message-----
From: Benson (BYB Subscriber & New Boat Owner)
Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2012
To: Bone Yard Boats
Subject: Feadship 82' Motoryacht

Hello Dave,

Well I have contacted Joe and we have talked several times on the phone and he has sent me a bunch of pictures. I am going down to Chattanooga on Friday and Sat to take a look at the boat. I was the first person to call and show great interest in the boat. He has received many more calls and emails from other interested parties. Joe has given me the first right of refusal on the old girl and I honestly think I am going to take her. Chattanooga is only about 2 hours from me and the boat is on the Tennessee River which will lead right back into Nashville. The engines have not been started in a year so I will have to give her a full sounding to see if she can maneuver on her own power or if I need to see what a tow back to Nashville would cost. I have family in Scottsboro, AL and that is just 40 upriver so possibly I can moor her there and begin repair work. I really want the boat... Joe did tell me there are four guys behind me that are really interested... Since the boat is 82 feet long she cannot be transported by any Over the Road trucking company. I have a friend in the boat logistics biz and he said she is just too long for highway travel. So it's all by water way for this girl. Anyways I will keep you posted over the weekend.


-----Original Message-----
From: Joe C. (Marina Manager)
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012
To: ''Bone Yard Boats - David Irving''
Subject: RE: 1956 Feadship

Yeah it was crazy. I've had no fewer than 40 emails and at least 30 or more phone calls. Benson has verbally agreed. He says he can do it...

-----Original Message-----
From: Benson (BYB Subscriber & New Boat Owner)
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012
To: Bone Yard Boats
Subject: The Feadship "Notorious"

Hello David,

I am happy to report that I have made arrangements to take possession of the Notorious. I went down to Knoxville this weekend and did about a 3 hour check of the boat. Like most neglected wood boats she had a bunch of dry rot wood topside and below. The engine room is in fair working order and the engines were fired about 3 months ago. There is some rusting on the main ribs and I will need to replace or reinforce those areas but all in all she is a very restorable boat. I learned in 1996 the hull was re-planked and sealed and that she is very solid below the waterline. The boat was checked last summer by Joe and he said he agreed that the keel and hull looked in great condition. I plan on having her checked again to make sure the props and shaft struts are in good working order and give the rudders a check. The plan is to get her underway to Nashville so I can start the major part of the restoration work. I think the marina will give me some time but they want to see some progress and the boat to look like she is getting some attention. I took 103 pictures throughout the boat and I can send you some pictures in a separate email... There has been quite a bit of interest in the Notorious from several parties and I guess I was the first person to come check her out and agreed to take ownership... My wife is extremely excited about her and she wants to get started soon and move aboard as soon as we can. First things first I have to get some things corrected and welcome and seek as much help as I can... I am so excited I can hardly stay focused on work. This will be the largest project to date for me to embark on and I know it will have its challenges but that motivates me more... I think every wood boat lover has faced this question before. Are you crazy like trying to build Noah's Ark? Maybe so but I am determined to make this dream of mine come true... I just wanted to add that Joe C., the marina manager has been a huge help and friend in helping me with making this happen for me. He is truly a fellow wood boat lover and wants to see the old girl returned to glory. Thank you again for contacting me about the Notorious it seemed it was a foot race to see who took possession of her first and I can say I have won that race. I was a Lieutenant in the Navy and now I can say I am promoted to Captain of my own ship...

Benson J. Howell
Now, Benson J. Howell, Captain of the vessel Notorious.

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe C. (Marina Manager)
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
To: ''Bone Yard Boats - David Irving''
Subject: RE: 1956 Feadship

The boat has a new owner "finally" ...thanks again, so much!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Benson (BYB Subscriber & New Boat Owner)
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
To: Bone Yard Boats
Subject: Feadship Notorious

Good Afternoon David,

As you have probably heard from Joe by now that the owner signed over the bill of sale to me yesterday. It was a great moment for me. I worked on the boat from Saturday morning till yesterday evening and got back home about 1am and I am at my office today. I am tired but boy did I ever have a great time working on the boat. My next plan is to get her re-registered and insured. I started on a bunch of smaller items that needed addressing this weekend. I installed 3 blowers to circulate the air in the boat which are on timers. I cleaned the decks and got all the light inside and out operational. I had to do some immediate covering of the ship to stop some topside water leakage. Mainly the crew quarters entrance and the trunk. Did some rotten wood removal as well. I have ordered a new 36 volt charging system for the batteries and I have ordered 4 new 1500 GPH bilge pumps and auto switches. De-watering would be a good thing. I will concentrate my efforts on the propulsion systems and steering as well so I can get her underway soon. My windless is jammed so I need to open it up and see where the problem exists so I can drop anchor if needed. There was a patch done on the bow below the waterline a few years ago and it is holding but I think I need to reseal before moving her.

You should have seen me Saturday night I decided to do a bilge crawl and I was covered in oil, water and gunk while inspecting the ribbing and the hull. I was never happier though. I had a smile ear to ear as I was working on my boat. The hull was last repaired and inspected in 1996 and I am wondering if I should put her on the hard and do another complete check. I need to find a location close to me that can handle the 101 ton lift on a cradle. I would rather dry dock her and move onto the hard there but there are not too many dry docks close to me. I fear if we lift her she may buckle. I have checked all the steel ribs and while they have surface rust they are still very solid as well as the steel cross supports in the bilge bays. The 1/2 inch steel band that runs bow to stern just below the weather deck is intact and solid so I may try and lift her anyways. All in all I am so happy I can work on her and all of the marina neighbors would love to see her returned to her glory days. There is a bike/walking path on the bank by the marina and all weekend I had people telling me she looked beautiful. Well she has great lines and once she is clean and painted then she will really turn heads again. It sounds like I was the first to really call on the boat and do an inspection of her. Sounds like you and Joe were bombarded with interested parties. Thank you again.


-----Original Message-----
From: Walter (Longtime BYB Subscriber)
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012
To: Bone Yard Boats
Subject: Notorious (Sereno II )


Just looking at the photos that were on the web site of the 1953 Feadship, 82', NOTORIOUS. When I was young I lived in Gulfport, Mississippi and frequented the small craft harbor. I was born in 1940 so I am almost 72 but as a teenager, the SERENO II was docked at the last pier before leaving the harbor for the Mississippi Sound. I never knew who owned it and it was rarely ever used although it had a full time captain. I believe that someone said that it belonged to some rich folks from Chicago. I really don't know anything about that only that it was a beautiful boat and when I worked to take care of a 1956, 64 foot Chris Craft Constellation, which at the time was the next largest boat in the harbor, the SERENO was the largest.

Many of the old wooden boats if the worms and electrolysis didn't finish them up, the hurricanes did. I am the proud owner of a 1955 Chris Craft 18' continental that I fully restored, came from Buffalo, won 1st, place Runabout, Best In Show at the Madisonville, La. Wooden Boat Festival. Our ACBS and the Lake Ponchartrain Maritime Museum sponsors the boat show in October every year. We usually have over 100 wood boats, many from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Come on down and see us sometime.



1953 FEADSHIP 82'. Joe Cornelius, a marina manager in Knoxville, TN, contacted Bone Yard Boats in March about the 1953 FEADSHIP 82' docked at his marina and in need of a new home. According to Joe, the MY NOTORIOUS has had 3 owners over the past 10 years, including one bank. The last owner turned her over to the marina board of directors, who instructed Joe to get it out of the marina. "I just have a heart for the boat and hate to see another bit of history gone. I hate to see the boat destroyed for lack of interest. Any help is appreciated." With those words from Joe and a price of free-to-a-good-home, the successful search for NOTORIOUS' next owner was kicked off.

The search for information about NOTORIOUS lead me to the De Vries Letsch yard in Holland and the following email: "The m.y. Notorious is one of the 4 (82ft) FEADSHIP wooden yachts constructed by my family yard de VRIES LENTSCH in the fifties. Her original name was SERENO II. The construction is a double mahogany hull with canvas between. The year of construction was 1953. Original the boat had a lower aft deck / cockpit at the stern. Some original drawings are in my archive. It would be great if the yacht can be restored in her former glory. I wonder what her actual condition is, as this looks bad on your photo. Also the same question concerning the interior and machinery. For your information I send you the picture how she was shipped to the USA, and one at the date of delivery from De VRIES LENTSCH shipyard. Awaiting your news, Best regards, Willem de Vries Lentsch"

Web pages were created, a dozen photos of the boat were posted online, and an email campaign to the BYB community was launched on March 6th alerting people to the situation with the Feadship. A few days later, Joe at the marina said, "Yeah it was crazy. I've had no fewer than 40 emails and at least 30 or more phone calls." Benson Howell, BYB subscriber from TN, was the first person to make contact, quickly followed by a personal inspection of the boat. Ownership of NOTORIOUS was transferred to Benson on March 19th. I just had to share this email excerpt from Benson because I understand exactly what he means:

"You should have seen me Saturday night. I decided to do a bilge crawl, and I was covered in oil, water, and gunk, while inspecting the ribbing and the hull. I was never happier though. I had a smile ear to ear as I was working on my boat."



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© 2012 Bone Yard Boats
All Rights Reserved.
Bone Yard Boats is the quarterly newsletter -- and website -- whose mission is to save old boats.
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  Bone Yard Boats is firmly dedicated to the belief that for every old boat out there in need of a new home...

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