Mega-yacht owners drawn to Greenport’s non-Hamptons atmosphere

by |
09/16/2012 2:00 PM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Crew members on the 125-foot Milk & Honey charter boat said they visited Greenport this month because they’d heard about the village’s quaintness and believed it would be a good place to wind down from the busy season.

This has been the year of big boats in Greenport Harbor. Very big boats.

At the beginning of summer six of the country’s largest sailing vessels tied up for the Tall Ships of America Challenge. Since then, a number of mega-yachts have found berths at Mitchell Park Marina.

Village administrator Dave Abatelli said more boats 90 feet or longer docked in Greenport this season than in previous years. And big boats mean big bucks for the village.

So far, the village has collected nearly $73,000 in docking fees from about 25 different yachts at the municipal pier.

“It has definitely been the best season in recent years,” Mr. Abatelli said. “We even had to turn away some big boats.”

Mr. Abatelli attributes Greenport’s success to marina manager Jeff Goubeaud, who advertised in various boating magazines and spread the word about Mitchell Park Marina while vacationing in Florida earlier this year.

Mr. Abatelli said some of the village’s luck stemmed from the fact that Sag Harbor’s private docks filled up fast this summer. The difference in permit fees between Greenport and Sag Harbor’s docks helped, too, he said.

Sag Harbor charges boaters about $6.50 per foot per night, Mr. Abatelli said, while Greenport charges $3 to $4.50 per foot per night. The village charges more for peak times, such as weekends and holidays.

Some boaters said they chose Greenport over the Hamptons because they wanted some rest and relaxation.

William Yingling, first officer of the 125-foot Milk & Honey charter boat, said his crew decided to visit Greenport this month because they’d heard about the village’s quaintness and believed it would be a good place to wind down from the busy season.

“We wanted to find someplace quiet,” Mr. Yingling said.

Judy Borten, who owns an 83-foot yacht named Jubilee with her husband, Bill, said her family has tied up in Greenport for the past several years.

“We have very dear friends who live here,” Ms. Borten said. “I like how Greenport is the quiet side of the Hamptons.”

Mr. Abatelli believes the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, the Greenport-Sag Harbor passenger ferry now in the final weeks of its first season, also added appeal for yacht owners.

“Most of the boaters have a Sag Harbor connection and like that they can kind of just scoot over there,” he said.

As the season wraps up, Mr. Abatelli said the village is planning to upgrade the marina’s electrical system to better accommodate more yachts next summer.

jennifer@timesreview.com