No bidders at Nathaniel Bowditch auction

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Feb 18, 2014
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds The schooner Nathaniel Bowditch wrapped in plastic for the winter, is anchored at Sharp's Wharf for the auction Friday, Feb. 14.

Camden — The U.S. Marshals Service held an auction at Sharp's Wharf for the schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, but no one offered the $250,000 minimum bid Friday, Feb. 14.

The Marshals had seized the boat Dec. 11 and later towed it from Rockland to Camden, where the auction took place. Deputy Marshal Sean Joyce read the terms of the sale to some 40 to 50 people assembled aboard the Bowditch, and served as auctioneer.

Since there were no bidders, Thomas Federle, the man who had bought the mortgage on the vessel, along with other loan agreements, became the ship's owner, said Joyce.

Afterward, attorney Twain Braden, who represents the plaintiff, Federle, said his client was working “very cooperatively” with the ship's former owners, Owen and Cathie Dorr of Rockland to find a solution that would satisfy the debt and keep the boat on the water.

In March 2012, The First, N.A., assigned to Federle a first preferred mortgage on the vessel, along with a promissory note, change in terms agreement and commercial guarantees by the Dorrs, according to a civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Portland in Admiralty. The complaint sought to foreclose on the mortgage and recoup the $375,000 owed by the Dorrs, plus legal and other costs. It led to the vessel's arrest by the Marshals and the subsequent auction.

In a phone conversation Monday, Feb. 17, Braden said Federle was “looking to cooperatively sell the boat with Owen and Cathie [Dorr].”

He referred to the several dozen people who had attended the auction, saying there are many who care about the fate of the schooner.

“There's a lot of affection for this boat and this way of life. … Something good will come out of it, I'm sure,” he said.

Patrick Mellor, the lawyer representing the Dorrs, agreed.

“We are also optimistic that Cathie and Owen can continue to play a role as stewards for the vessel,” he said. “The Dorrs are passionate about helping people experience windjamming.”

Calls to the Dorrs for comment were not returned before press time.

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Sarah Reynolds
Sarah E. Reynolds is a reporter for the Camden Herald.
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Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, hike and play word games.

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