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Letters: On Primadonna's Departure
Thanks and Other Thoughts
November 13, 2013

rimadonna, the sailboat that occupied a space in Oriental’s harbor for the past year, was towed to Morehead City on November 12. The towing boat was Martijn Dijkstra’s 50-foot steel sailboat, “Prinses Mia”. Martijn has visited Oriental often on his earlier boat, Rotop and after arriving last week and learning of the situation in the anchorage, he offered to help fix the engine on Primadonna (which its crew has long said was its reason for staying) or to tow the boat away. The Primadonna crew – Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann — told Martijn that they wanted to go to Morehead to have the engine fixed there. And so, for five hours Tuesday, Princes Mia pulled Primadonna to Morehead where it picked up a mooring. The Primadonna crew did not acknowledge the Prinses Mia crew as the tow line was slipped. While there was no ‘merci’ or thank you from Primadonna, others have been more forthcoming, with both thanks, and some thoughts about what’s next.

To the Editors:

Bradley “Scott” Pickard’s letter admonishing the good folks of Oriental to be more compassionate toward those down on their luck is misplaced rhetoric. No one can possibly accuse Pat Stockwell, Martijn Dijkstra, and others who generously gave money, transportation, food, and other aid to Pascal Ott of lacking kindheartedness.

Pickard seems to believe that acts of dishonor and deceit should be forgiven when one is hungry and down on his/her luck. Does he also believe that blowing money that clearly belonged to Pat Stockwell at the Tiki Bar should be forgiven because one is “thirsty” and recently into an ill-gotten windfall?

Few of us are fortunate enough to be born to wealth and privilege, and many, if not all of us, have experienced times of meager resources and scarce sustenance. But the vast majority of good people in such circumstances never abandon the basic tenets of honesty and ethical behavior toward their neighbors, and especially toward those who’ve demonstrated overt kindness and compassion by lending a hand.

Clearly Pascal Ott saw the opportunity to capitalize on the good nature of the kind people of Oriental. Where gratitude should have been his obvious response (such as to the crew of Prinses Mia, who generously spent their time and fuel on his behalf) he chose to turn his back.

Rather than berating those who’ve been critical of Pascal Ott, Pickard would better spend his rhetoric praising those who helped him. Clearly the old adage that ‘no good turn goes unpunished’ has been demonstrated here, both by Ott’s actions and Pickard’s letter.

Jeff Coppes, O.D.
Mishawaka, IN

To the Editor,

Well, I am glad that red boat has moved on, and I am sorry for the loss of funds to a local. But I am so concerned of the lack of understanding the town has to people that are truly down on their luck. Thank God, that most people do not have to worry about their next meal. Earlier in my own life, when I was a young kid we sometimes did not get to eat for several days.

I can understand that people that are desperate could do some of these acts. So, I pray for better times for the boat owners and for the repayment to our local citizen. But please consider this, when people are hungry and desperate they may do things that they are not proud of.

Until we walk in their shoes, maybe we should not judge them and the other boaters too hard. As Christ said, “Ye whose has not sinned, can cast the first stone”. And yes I also have a home here in the Town of Oriental.

Bradley “Scott” Pickard
Savannah, GA/Oriental

To the Editor:

Goodbye Primadonna! Thank you, Mr. Dijkstra and Mr. Stockwell!

I am not a resident of Oriental, but I enjoy the town’s businesses with my occasional weekend funds and pay Pamlico County taxes on a boat there. That said, I beg the new town council to improve the anchorage situation. I offer these unsolicited proposals on anchorage limitations to use or modify as the town deems appropriate:

  • All boats anchoring more than 2 nights must register the boat and all crew members with the town sheriff. Provide cards and a drop-box at the dinghy dock. Provide a sign indicating the duration of allowed stay. Current liability insurance provider and emergency contact with phone number must be provided (who should pick up the body or boat after a drunk-drowning).
  • Anchorage stays must be limited to 14 consecutive days in a one month period. An additional 14 day extension may be granted by approval of the town sheriff, if the total anchorage boats number three boats or less. Request may be denied if the total count numbers four or more.
  • Boats overstaying the 14-day limit will be given 48-hour notice to vacate or be fined $100 per day at the end of the 48 hour period.
  • Boats overstaying the limit by 14 days are subject to impoundment to pay all fines, towing expenses, and storage expenses of impounded boat at a local boatyard. The town or its assigns are not responsible for damage occurred to boats as a result of failed compliance to the anchoring limits. Boats will be released from impoundment once all fees and expenses have been paid and the sheriff signs a release. Unclaimed boats will be auctioned.

Watching the events of the past year, to see Mr. Stockwell and many others have their good will abused by the thoughtless and selfish homesteaders has been maddening and shameful. It gives all of us cruisers enjoying the same shared resources a bad name.

Oriental is a wonderful community and a North Carolina treasure well-known up and down the Eastern Seaboard. I hope the new town council demonstrates the leadership to keep it that way.

One more note – if Mr. Dijkstra or Mr. Stockwell ever pays for a beer in Oriental, it is a crime. Thank you, Sirs!

Ben Matthews
Raleigh/Pecan Grove

Just a quick note from a sailor who visits Oriental – in a very small sailboat, Flicka. I usually can get a spot on the Town Dock without issue. Sometimes I may need a little extra time there to finish a project or two, but I always move around to allow the big boats to dock.
Usually I spend a couple of days at the Town Dock and a couple at the marina.

The anchorage is close by, but as mentioned…the same old boats in place.

That area used to be the “staging area” that cruisers would hold to, waiting for the access to the public dock (free) to conduct provisioning, dinner, and to head out.

Thanks to the Captain who conducted the tow. (please do two more.) Hope to meet you there next time through.

The new mooring for the Primadonna will gain a lot of attention from the Coast Guard. So we will see how it works out.

See ya’ll at the dock,

Greg Cowen
PS Flicka “Bama Breeze”
Cary/New Bern NWC

Dear TownDock,

Now I know why my anemometer was whirling around at such speed. It had nothing to do with the weather – it was a collective sigh of relief from Oriental at the disappearance of “Primadonna” from the harbor.

Bon Voyage.

Laura Stanbrough

Does anyone else find it an incredible coincidence that after months of haranguing for S/V Primodona to move on, Captain Ott decides to leave the anchorage the day after he’s served with small claims papers on behalf of Pat Stockwell? Even if he was not a party to the original scam, his refusal to repay Stockwell as soon as the check was discovered to be fraudulent is manifestly dishonest, and the hasty departure is an indication this debt will probably not be repaid. By moving across the county line, is he now out of jurisdiction of small claims court; another coincidence?

As someone has already suggested, we should start a fund to collect $2,500 for Pat, plus any expenses he has incurred as a result of trying to collect his loss, and consider it money well spent to be rid of the red boat. If by some miracle the money is repaid, I’m sure we could find a way to donate the recovered funds to charity or such.

Gordon Pickett

Editor’s note: Pat Stockwell has said he’d like to see his case go through civil court first, before any fundraising is done. When that time comes, the effort will be reported here. Also, TownDock.net confirmed with Pamlico Sheriff Billy Sawyer that the small claims court papers could have been served on Primadonna in any county in NC.


While I am glad to see at least one of the permanent boats has moved on, I am a bit concerned about dumping the problem on someone else.

As far as I know, all the moorings in Morehead City are privately owned, did Primadonna just take over someones private property by picking up a mooring that is not theirs to pick up?

The guy who manages the city docks in Morehead City is also the owner of Portside Marina right there, Denard is an extremely friendly and helpful person whose reputation is well-deserved and I cringe at the idea that he might be next in line to be taken advantage of.

Russell Easby-Smith
s/v Lady Pauline

Russell Easby-Smith earlier addressed the Oriental anchorage issue in a Guest Column. It ran in June.


Everyone in town should treat Martijn to dinner. What a good soul he is. Maybe he could tow the other three boats as well.

Patti Raxter
Greensboro/Sea Harbour

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