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Primadonna Has Left The Harbor
Dutch Boat Prinses Mia Tows French Boat Away
November 12, 2013

rimadonna has left Oriental. primadonna leaves
Primadonna and her French crew of Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann depart Oriental’s harbor under tow from the Dutch-flagged sailboat, Prinses Mia.

The French crew, Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann, who’ve been in Oriental’s harbor for a year this month, pulled up anchor a few minutes past 7 Tuesday morning. Seconds later, a tow line from the Dutch boat, Prinses Mia, pulled taut and began Primadonna’s journey out of Oriental’s anchorage toward Morehead City.

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The anchorage at Oriental’s harbor, about ten minutes after the sun rose (on the other side of the roofless building.) The straighter of Primadonna’s two masts casts a reflection to port.
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Primadonna, in her last ten minutes in Oriental’s anchorage, awaiting a tow from Martijn Dijkstra’s sailboat, Prinses Mia.

In the view of many, Primadonna and crew overstayed their time in Oriental. The boat became a flashpoint in the controversy of boats homesteading in Oriental’s public anchorage. There are three other boats also taking the most protected spaces and deepest water in the anchorage. That has had the effect of keeping cruisers from using it as much as they have in past years.

Primadonna’s crew told TownDock.net’s Shipping News in July that they only needed a new engine starter, a ball of sailing twine and some diesel to leave. But months came and went – and donations continued – and still Primadonna stayed at its spot just off of OYC.

Enter the Prinses Mia, a steel boat flying a Dutch flag which arrived in Oriental a few days ago. While this has been the Prinses Mia’s first visit to Oriental, her captain is no stranger to town. Martijn Dijkstra has visited Oriental often in the past half decade on board his previous boat, Rotop. When he got to Oriental this past weekend and saw the situation in the anchorage that was once a place for many visiting boats, he spoke with Ott and Christmann and offered to tow Primadonna away. News of the imminent tow was enthusiastically received in much of Oriental on Sunday and Monday.

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The Dutch-flagged sailboat, Prinses Mia motors toward the spot in the anchorage where Primadonna has anchored since the winter.
One of the two anchor chains and lines that held Primadonna in place in the Oriental anchorage since the winter. (The boat had arrived in the harbor last November and stayed at the Town Dock for a period and then anchored elsewhere in the anchorage. It has occupied this spot since the winter.)

Beyond the homesteading in the anchorage, Primadonna’s crew wore out their Oriental welcome in other ways. There was a shoplifting incident. Reports of panhandling in front of various businesses. At least one visa appeared to be expired. Then, in the past month and a half, there was the bogus check incident.

As reported here, Primadonna’s captain, Pascal Ott, had asked the manager of a local store to co-endorse a check for $2,980 in late September. Pat Stockwell says Ott told him he received the check for selling a roller furler on Craig’s List. A day after Pat Stockwell co-endorsed that check, the bank informed him that the check was fraudulent and he would have to pay the bank the full amount. Stockwell repeatedly asked Ott for the money back. When Oriental police began asking questions a few weeks later, Ott gave Stockwell $500 and a promise that more money would be sent from France. It never came through.

Pat Stockwell is still owed $2,480. His efforts to get Oriental Police to charge Ott came up empty – police are said to have found no ‘intent’ to deceive. With no criminal charges brought against Ott, Pat Stockwell last week filed papers in small claims court against Ott, seeking the money back. A representative of the Pamlico Sheriff’s Department served the papers yesterday.

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Pascal Ott, captain of Primadonna, tosses a tow line to the crew on Prinses Mia, captain Martijn Dijkstra and Mike Anderson.

Should the court process fail to bring restitution to Pat Stockwell, there are several people who have suggested raising funds on his behalf.

As for the anchorage issue, Oriental would have to get a local law passed in the NC Legislature in order to get jurisdiction over the harbor. From that would come the ability to impose time limits on boat stays. The General Assembly convenes in May. Meanwhile, there is another move by a town committeee to ban boats from the dinghy dock in the overnight hours. The Town already has jurisdiction there andthe target would be dinghies that are tenders to homesteading boats using the anchorage as a storage space. One or two such dinghies have seemed to be permanently tied to the dinghy dock.

(More photos ahead.)


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Prinses Mia crew, Mike Anderson, pulls up the anchor that Primadonna had been using at its aft. The French boat used two anchors which prevented it from swinging in to the wind, one of several factors that kept visiting boats from anchoring nearby during Primadonna’s long stay in the anchorage.
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Aft hook up, the crew of Primadonna then turned to raising the anchor off the bow. At the windlass, Pascal Ott. Monique Christmann, the other crew member, is at left.
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Monique Christmann pours water over the incoming anchor chain. Clinging to the links was harbor bottom mud, which accumulated over Primadonna’s long stay.
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Anchor sees the light of day at a few minutes past 7a. As Primadonna floats free, Monique Christmann lowers the pail for another dousing.
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The towing begins as water pings off the tautening tow line between Primadonna and Prinses Mia. At right, on the Dutch boat, are its captain, Martijn Dijkstra and Mike Anderson of Oriental.


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Prinses Mia tows Primadonna past Southern Cross, another boat that has homesteaded in the most protected and deepest water part of Oriental’s anchorage.
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Primadonna is towed past The Shire, the pink boat that has homesteaded in the anchorage since the spring. Its owner said in September that he’d move to make room for snowbirds heading south, but has not. It later emerged that his plans for moving were to specifically anchor up the creeks, and he says he’s not been able to clear the bridge.
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Prinses Mia tows Primadonna from the anchorage.
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The two boats turn to port and pass lighted red marker #8 at the end of Oriental’s breakwater.
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After a year in Oriental’s harbor, Primadonna and her French crew depart Oriental’s anchorage around 7:05a Tuesday, under tow from the Dutch boat, Prinses Mia.
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Beyond the breakwater. Prinses Mia tows Primadonna out the Oriental channel. In foreground, a ball marks the spot where the anchor for The Shire, which has homesteaded in Oriental’s harbor since the spring.
primadonna leaves
Out on the Neuse, Prinses Mia tows Primadonna past Oriental marker #1 and across the river towards Adams Creek. This was 12 minutes after Primadonna weighed anchor. Destination: Morehead City.

Prinses Mia finished her towing job around noontime Tuesday. Primadonna is now tied to a mooring at Morehead City.

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Posted Tuesday November 12, 2013 by Melinda Penkava

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