Keuk Maid sells for $26,000
HAMMONDSPORT—The Keuka Maid was sold for $26,000 at auction aboard the ship Monday, Oct. 22. The auction only included two bids, but was won by Tim Murphy, a partner of Fields Construction and Excavating Inc. from Canandaigua.
When presented with the bid, a call was placed to current owner Robert Pfuntner informing him of the offer. After a few minutes of deliberation, Pfuntner accepted the deal.
“Go ahead and do it,” Pfuntner said over the phone as it was held up to a microphone for the audience to hear.
Murphy bid on the boat as a whole, including all equipment onboard. The boat itself is 107 feet long, 202 tons and includes three pontoons, Cummins diesel engines, generators and hundreds of lifejackets. Also included is the ship’s restaurant equipment, which has a steamer, electric oven range, wooden bars, beer coolers, draft system, a 600 pound ice machine, water heaters and an assortment of tables, chairs and bar stools.
Murphy said he did not want to buy things separately, opting to purchase the Keuka Maid in its entirety with all of its equipment.
“I figured go big or go home,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he has no definite plans for the vessel or its equipment yet, saying he has a lot of ideas floating around in his head but nothing he wants to come out and talk about just yet. He said he plans to settle in on something in a month or so.
The town of Urbana will allow Murphy and Fields Construction to pull the boat out of the water across Champlain Beach into the parking lot after they enter into an agreement with the town for a $2 million liability policy. They will also need to enter a performance contract with the town stating the amount of time they would need to remove all equipment, dismantle the Keuka Maid itself and restore the property to its original condition, as well as including penalties for not completing the work by an agreed upon time.
If it is decided to not dismantle the boat on town property, the boat will have to be removed from the dock by 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 unless other arrangements are made.
The auction attracted some 75 people Monday morning onboard the vessel, but many appeared to be there just to witness the event, as only two people placed bids. A few people stuck around after the bidding looking to purchase a few select items from Murphy, but he is not allowed to sell anything until he has paid for it. Other attendees said they were at the event to relive old memories for one last time.
“It’s a sad day,” said former Keuka Maid employee Jerrie Briggs, wife of Captain Edwin Briggs, who both attended the auction. “It’s sad but it has gone downhill so much. To get any more out of it, it would need a lot of work.”
Former Captain Bob Hicks said during the time he worked on the vessel, it would draw about 50,000 visitors a year. Hicks added he “would not miss it,” but Briggs still retains fond memories of the vessel.
“I miss it a lot,” Jerrie Briggs said. “Working here has been the best job my husband and I have ever had.”