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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Arrested Departure
July 24, 2013
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Primadonna has been anchored in Oriental’s anchorage for nine months. This has lead to considerable friction between Primadonna’s crew and visiting boaters, residents and merchants.

While Oriental has a clear policy on how long a vessel can visit the Town Dock (48 hours, per month), how long a vessel can stay in the anchorage is less clear. At present, the town relies on visiting cruisers to self-police the length of their stays. Most spend a few nights or weeks in the anchorage, for which there is no charge. Occasionally, some stay a month or more before moving on to another anchorage or a marina.

This honor system gives visiting boaters a shot at finding a place in the anchorage. It also means that – so far – the anchorage is unregulated by time limits.

Some municipalities, citing yachts that overstay their welcome, have imposed time limits on how long visiting boaters can stay. It varies from a few hours to a few days. After that, the boats must move on.

While in Oriental, Primadonna’s lengthy stay – along with that of two other long-time visitors to the anchorage – has raised the issue of how to deal with boats that overstay their welcome.

anchorage three
Primadonna has not been alone in overstaying what some see as a reasonable amount of time. The boats are – Primadonna (red), Southern Cross (off-white), The Shire, (pink). Some visiting boats say the presence of the long-term anchored boats means they are bypassing Oriental.
anchorage three
Last year, in late November, Primadonna stayed at the Town Dock many days past the 2-day limit. Only after receiving a visit by Police Captain Dwaine Moore did she return to the anchorage.

Pascal says he has run out of money.

He relies on a pension for income. He says, “usually I get my retirement in France. But since 4 months, with the new president, they don’t pay my retirement… They say, ‘we lose the paper.’” Pascal claims he has tried to contact French authorities, but got nowhere.

All the while, while he was trying to sort his finances, he kept Primadonna in the anchorage. Moving her to a marina, Pascal says, was too expensive.

This struck a nerve with some locals and visiting boaters. It was felt Primadonna (and two other boats) were overstaying their welcome – preventing visiting boaters from using the anchorage. In early June, these thoughts appeared in the Letters to the Editor section of TownDock.net. A month later, with the same three vessels still occupying the anchorage, there were more Letters to the Editor regarding the anchorage.

There were also concerns about how securely – or insecurely – the vessel’s anchors were keeping the heavy steel sailboat in place. Once, while anchored in Oriental’s outer anchorage, winter winds caused the vessel to drag toward the Oriental bridge. She was eventually secured to the Oriental Harbor Marina’s outside dock.

Pascal later moved her to the more sheltered inner anchorage, where she’s resided ever since. During a hard June blow, when water levels fell, she was left hard aground.

Primadonna heeled over on bottom as low waters, brought on by high June winds, beset the harbor. In another blow last winter, she broke free and bore down on the Oriental bridge before a line was tossed from the face dock at Oriental Harbor Marina.

Pascal says now, anchored with two anchors, one fore, one aft, she is more secure. With her 2 meter draft, the only place deep enough to hold her is close to the main channel leading in to the Town Dock. He says when the wind blows her in to the channel that leads to town – where she might be a hazard to one of the many private and commercial vessels that uses the channel – he uses the wind and stay sail on her bow to push her out of the way.

Primadonna moored in Oriental’s inner anchorage. The green buoy marks the stern anchor. It’s supposed to keep the vessel from swinging in to the busy channel that leads to the Town Dock.

Monique knows the length of Primadonna’s stay has irritated some people. She says people ask her, “When are you leaving? When are you going?”

Primadonna’s crew acknowledges Oriental has been generous. Pascal says residents have made cash donations of varying amounts. Churches such as Saint Peter the Fisherman have given Monique food. Out of town visitors have given cash and food.

All of which wasn’t enough. On May 29, Monique was arrested for shoplifting.

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Posted Wednesday July 24, 2013 by Bernie Harberts

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