Derelict Sailboat Grounds In Monomoy As Town Seeks To Hold Owner Accountable

Jason Graziadei •

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Chances are you've seen this boat before. For the past nine months it had been anchored in Nantucket Harbor just off First Point, prompting numerous calls to marine officials as it sometimes appeared to be beached on Coatue.

Late last month it ran aground for real, breaking free from the mooring the town had put it on and going up on the beach at Monomoy. And this may be the final chapter for the 33-foot sailboat "Buenos Aires," as Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey is now planning to have it hauled away and scrapped on the mainland.

What's the backstory here? It's one Lucey is quite familiar with, although she rather wouldn't be. Lucey, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Massachusetts Environmental Police, have spent "hundreds of hours" attempting to track down the owner, securing its lines during storms, and responding to calls from the public about it.

"The number of man-hours that have been exhausted with this boat is crazy," Lucey said. "It's become a part-time job."

Is it the most infamous boat in the harbor, we asked?

"Pretty much," Lucey said.

The Buenos Aires first got on the radar of marine officials in May of 2023. It left the Nantucket Boat Basin on May 4th, Lucey said, and within a few days, both the Nantucket Harbormaster's office and Coast Guard Station Brant Point started getting calls about a boat aground or anchored by First Point.

The two agencies responded, searched the area under the assumption someone had gone overboard, and after finding no one, began working to track down its owner. That search first led them to island resident John Stover, the former owner of the sailboat who showed the authorities a bill of sale and told them the new owner was Cody Fenstermaker, of Key West, Florida.

Despite their best efforts - including 56 phone calls to Fenstermaker over the past nine months, along with calls to family and friends, Fenstermaker never took responsibility for the boat.

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They did reach him at one point in September, Lucey said, and the authorities thought Fenstermaker was finally going to remove the boat from Nantucket Harbor.

"He did respond to one thing in September," she said. "He said he was coming out here to remove the boat. He said all the right things, that the boat was coming out of the water. We believed him, we saw a dinghy out there several times. But then we saw the dinghy tied off to the back. The launch wasn't running and we got nervous."

They launched another search around the Buenos Aires but did not find Fenstermaker, and did not hear from him again.

Now the Environmental Police are pursuing a legal case against Fenstermaker for abandoning the boat, while Lucey said she is working with the Robert B. Our company and a few local residents to remove the boat from the beach. The hope is that it can be transported back across Nantucket Sound aboard one of Robert B. Our's barges, and disposed of on the mainland.

"We are going after this guy," Lucey said. "He will pay for it."

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