The flotsam that was once John Kerry’s liberal reputation is washing away with every detail that comes out about his luxurious new $7,000,000 yacht. Now, at a time when New England shipyards are suffering depression-like conditions, Kerry had his yacht built in New Zealand.
The Boston Herald, Kerry’s hometown newspaper, has the details:
“Darn, that would have been a wonderful job for a Maine builder,” said Jane Wellehan, president of the trade group Maine Built Boats. “If someone comes to build a $7 million boat that would employ half the population of some towns for a year or two. Boat building is such a critical component of our coastal economy.”
Gregory Egan, who owns the Crosby Yacht Yard in Osterville, said Bay State boat builders must feel cut adrift by Kerry as well.
“I’m confident that anything constructed in New Zealand could be constructed here in the state,” he said. “From a political perspective, it seems to me he could have thought twice about that one.”
News that Kerry was docking the 76-foot custom-built sloop in Newport, R.I., was first reported in the Herald Friday. Sources told the Herald the yacht cost $7 million, meaning Kerry would owe the state more than $500,000 in excise and sales taxes.
The Isabel has two VIP main cabins, a glossy teak interior and a wet bar and wine storage in the pilothouse. It is billed as a “departure from the norm in the opulent world of yachting” and designed to be piloted without a crew.
With the nation enduring a nasty economy, painful joblessness and extreme belt-tightening, word of the luxury yacht’s foreign construction – as Americans yearn for work – could create a political tempest for Kerry.
“The message is, ‘The American boat builders aren’t good enough, and the Massachusetts people aren’t good enough to maintain it.’ It’s just a bad message all around,” said Connecticut boater Steve Potter, who docks in Charlestown.
In Kerry’s defense, he did attempt to make it up to American ship builders last week by voting to extend their unemployment benefits.