New York's Chemical Bank today became the only bank around that owns a 131-foot ferroconcrete-hulled squarerigger.
Chemical bought the brigantine enchantress at a court-ordered sale in Newport, R.I., for $250,000 in the brief auction that resulted from the bank's action to retrieve some of its money loaned to the Enchatress' builder and owner, David Kent, who was last seen heading south in a newly purchased Cadillac.
Kent had a $425,000 loan on the Enchantress from chemical, but fell behind in his 5,700 monthly payments when his cartering business failed to develop.
About 200 people turned out for the auction, U.S. Marshall Donald Wyatt said, but the bidding was brief.
It opened at $200,000, and after an offer of $210,000 by an unidentified bidder, Chemical protected its investment by winning the auction at $250,000.
Along with the Enchatress, which sailed with the tall ships into New York Harbor at the Bicentennial, Chemical acquired some problems. It costs $1,000 a week to keep the boat at Newport's Goat Island Marina, and there is a suit pending by former crew members asking over $30,000 in wages.
According to Chief Deputy Marshall George Douglas, the Enchantreess needs work before anyone takes her out to sea. About six inches of barnacles and seaweed are growing on her hull, and her generator is broken, he said.
One man involved in the sale said Chemical has had some expressions of interest in the boat and believes it can get more than $250,000 it it works out a financing arrangement with a new purchaser. So the bank stepped in today rather than let the Enchantress go at far below its value.