VIDEO: Mystery yacht intrigues coastal N.H. town

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ghostyacht0602

Among the rumors about an empty and motorless 70-foot yacht that crashed into the marsh in Hampton Beach, N.H., were that it was to be blown up for a Denzel Washington movie, that it was a pornography film set and that it was a drug-smuggling vessel.

Ever since the Guest List, a yacht with no furnishings, broke free of its mooring this winter and marooned itself on the salt marsh near a row of houses, residents of the popular New Hampshire beach town have thrown around all sorts of theories in speculating about where the boat came from and why it is still sitting there.

The truth, it turns out, has just as many twists as a Denzel Washington movie and it involves a Miami couple on a string of bad luck, according to the Boston Globe.

Marcelo Nunes, 41, and his wife, Andresa, bought the boat in Newburyport last year and had it towed to Hampton Beach so Mike Wheeler, the owner of Hampton Harbor Boatworks, could install motors.

The couple planned to take it to Miami and become liveaboards, with their three children and dog sharing the 3,000-square-foot vessel.

First, the couple lost several thousand dollars to a man they bought twin diesel motors from, Wheeler said. When they went to claim the motors, the shop had gone out of business and the man was nowhere to be found.

Twice the Guest List broke free of its mooring in the Hampton River, and the second time, it crashed sideways into the salt marsh next to the Hampton River Marina, where Hampton Harbor Boatworks is located.

When the boat ran aground, a strut tore through the bottom of the boat, ripping a hole and filling the back of the boat with water. The nearest boatyard capable of fixing a yacht that large is a few miles down the coast in Newburyport, Mass.

Wheeler said that after consulting with state officials, the decision was made that the safest thing to do was turn the boat so it was facing the shore and less likely to tip over, and then leave it there for the winter until repairs could be made.

But now that summer is nearly here, there’s another catch: While the couple was in Brazil trying unsuccessfully to start a security business for the World Cup, they accidentally let their boat insurance lapse, Wheeler said.

The couple originally traded a stretch Ford Excursion and some cash for the vessel, said James Patnaude, who runs the service center at Hampton Harbor Boatworks. Now the repairs will cost as much as $8,000, plus as much as another $8,000 for new motors.

But Andresa Nunes said they probably won’t be motor shopping again. Once they come up with the money for the repairs — she hopes to have that in early June — she said they will probably sell the boat where it is.

In the meantime, the Guest List has become a tourist destination in Hampton Beach. Carol Paul, who owns the Coffee Break Café, said people come in regularly asking for directions to the mystery “ghost ship.”

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