Seacoast Enterprises Associates Inc., an East Hampton firm that already manages Harbor, Gardiner’s, and Halsey’s Marinas — all located on Three Mile Harbor — has announced the purchase of the Three Mile Harbor Boatyard at the head of the harbor.
Commonly called Story’s after its longtime owner Sam Story, the Three Mile Harbor Boatyard has catered to sailboats over the years with a boatlift hefty enough to haul them and a ship’s store offering sailing accessories. Harry Wessberg sold the yard to Robert Story in 1951. Sam Story bought it from his father in 1986.
The marina section has 70 slips and a boatlift with a 40-ton capacity capable of hauling 65-foot boats.
Peter Mendelman, a Seacoast vice president, said his company had been interested in maintaining its powerboat trade and attracting more sailboats to the harbor. He said the company was thinking about buying a bigger boatlift for Harbor Marina, but the purchase of the Three Mile Harbor Boatyard with its existing store and infrastructure seemed a better way to accomplish the goal.
The ship store and boatyard staff will remain as is, and Mr. Mendelman said Harbor Marina’s service contacts and expertise will supplement those of the Three Mile Harbor Boatyard and vice versa.
The boatyard’s 70 slips will be added to Halsey’s Marina’s 40, Gardiner’s Marina’s 40, and Harbor Marina’s 100 to lift Seacoast’s capacity to 250. Two other marinas, the Three Mile Marina owned by Don Van der Veer, and the East Hampton Marina owned by Jeff Briggs, remain independent, as do the Sunset Cove Marina and East Hampton Point Marina. The town maintains public slips at Gann Road and head of the harbor.
“Improving the facilities takes the most effort. We have to be careful about what’s done. We have a good relationship with the town and trustees built over the last decade. But, no matter how good it is, to make major improvements could be two or three years away. In the meantime we plan to spruce things up as best as we can,” said Mr. Mendelman, whose sister, Lynn Mendelman, is a town trustee.
To some degree, sailors’ lack of interest in making Montauk and East Hampton homeports or destinations was “purely lack of attention,” compared to ports like Sag Harbor, Greenport, and Block Island, Mr. Mendelman said.
He said the recent dredging of the Three Mile Harbor mouth to a depth of 12 feet would help attract larger boats, including sailboats, and there was hope that the county’s Department of Public Works would follow through on a plan to dredge the south end of the harbor, near the Three Mile Harbor Marina to a depth of eight feet. Eighty percent of the Three Mile Boatyard slips are home to sailboats. “It’s been an issue,” Mr. Mendelman said.
“We’re seeing people leave this harbor for Connecticut or Rhode Island because they didn’t feel they could get what they needed. We’re hoping to change that perception,” he said, adding that a future yacht club was not out of the question.
“We’ve been thinking about a local yacht club, but we didn’t have the scale. You need a critical mass of sailboaters.”
“In the short term, we’re going to focus on keeping the same team and building on the team. We’re not planning a monopoly to raise prices. Sam had a reputation for offering value, and we want to build on that. In the long term, we want to create a facility boaters are proud of and the entire community is proud of,” Mr. Mendelman said.