Ray Pat sleeps with the fishes

Sad end for yacht said to have belonged to Patriarca

By Bruce Burdett
Posted 8/17/17

TIVERTON — The end came quietly for the 64-year-old motoryacht Ray Pat Monday on Tiverton’s Nanaquaket Pond.

The moored 42-foot 1953 wooden Chris Craft settled 15 feet to the muddy bottom …

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Ray Pat sleeps with the fishes

Sad end for yacht said to have belonged to Patriarca

Posted

TIVERTON — The end came quietly for the 64-year-old motoryacht Ray Pat Monday on Tiverton’s Nanaquaket Pond.
The moored 42-foot 1953 wooden Chris Craft settled 15 feet to the muddy bottom at dawn, leaving only parts of the bow rail and superstructure above water.

“Going, going gone,” a responder radioed to headquarters when asked for a status report after passersby had spotted the boat going down.

Owner John Shelton arrived a short time later in his dinghy to salvage a few things. He climbed around the cabin top and deck but later, back at the Evelyn’s Drive-In dock, said most of the good stuff was underwater and likely ruined.

“It was fine, beautiful — I was happy — last night at 6:30,” he said. Like all elderly wooden boats it had a few leaks but nothing the new batteries and bilge pump he’d recently installed couldn’t handle.

“I have no idea what happened,” he added. “I was going to come down at 4 (a.m.) to check but didn’t. By the time I got here it was too late.”

There will be no next chapter for the Ray Pat.

Mr. Shelton said he was waiting for the arrival of a crew from Pirate Cove Marina (Portsmouth and Tiverton). “I’m going to have it cut up.” The engine hasn’t run for awhile and the cost of repairs at this stage would be prohibitive.

Asked about that Ray Pat name, Mr. Shelton said the boat came with it and he wasn’t about to change it.

“Way back when it was new, the boat belonged to (the late mob boss) Raymond Patriarca,” he said. “I heard they had some pretty big parties on it.”

Without a working motor, the boat had spent the summer moored in Nanaquaket Pond — it served as getaway place for Mr. Shelton and his wife who live on Bismark Avenue in Tiverton.

“We’d just come and sit out here and enjoy the evening and the view,” he said. “And replace screws — you’re always doing that on old wooden boats.”

He’d done a good deal of work to keep it nice, he said. Just recently he’d replaced all of the carpeting. “And it had two color TVs — don’t imagine they’re much good now.”

Mr. Shelton, who once owned a service station near Nanaquaket Pond (now a restaurant), said he has owned boats of all sorts since he got a skiff at age 10.

Asked what’s next, he pointed to his white wooden skiff which he said was built in 1958 — “This will probably be it for awhile — a lot less trouble.”

Also there to greet Mr. Shelton at the dock were two representatives of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office in East Providence who wanted to know if he’d had any fuel on board.

None, Mr. Shelton said, except for the 5-gallon can he kept in his dinghy for the outboard. A few hours after the sinking, no fuel sheen was apparent on the pond’s calm surface.

Told he was taking the boat’s loss (and considerable cost to re-float and demolish) well considering, Mr. Shelton said the sinking does indeed hurt but “you just have to move on …
“Things happen for a reason,” he added. “Don’t know why they always happen to me.”

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