Captain Scott Faulkner fell in love with the Mary Lloyd, a 1939 Elco motor yacht, in Jim Bennett’s boat yard in Springs 27 years ago in 1992.
“She’s 80 years old this year,” said Capt. Faulkner, who was living in the East Village and working for the fashion photographer Stan Shaffer when he first came across the classic boat, built by the Electric Launch Company in Bayonne, New Jersey.
The photographer was attracted to the wooden boat’s Art Deco lines, hidden under a canvas tarp. He climbed up inside, through the stern, and that was it. An advance was acquired and the boat was renamed after his mother.
While working as a photographer in London, Mr. Faulkner met his wife, Sara, an artist, on a mutual friend’s canal boat. They fell in love, and by way of Wales, where they own a hillside farmhouse called Fronfriath, made their way to East Hampton full time in 2010.
Sara fell just as quickly for the Mary Lloyd. The family, including their two children, Frank, 13, and Mali, 16, spent many summers happily living on the boat when the cost of their winter rental increased dramatically during the summer months. “Our solution was to move to this,” he said, on the boat, docked at Gann Road, Three Mile Harbor.
“Living on boat is fantastic,” Capt. Faulkner said, “depending upon the numbers.”
Mary Lloyd has accommodated up to nine people. For one or two people, day-to-day living is manageable, even “fun and easy.” As the kids got bigger, the romance became more of an impediment. Still, the captain would never consider getting a larger boat. “More money, more upkeep,” he said.
It would be difficult to replace such a charming vessel. The boat is considered a “six-pack,” meaning she can take six people out on charters, very comfortably. “It’s a picnic boat design,” Capt. Faulkner said. “This 30-foot boat has more outdoor space than many 60-foot boats. It’s the nature of the design.”
The outdoor space is dreamy. Vintage prints cover cushy pillows on a bench that stretches the width of the stern. Life preservers are found under the seat.
Seat cushions can double as a bed, when the mahogany table is unscrewed from the floor. It can unfold to 6 inches or be taken away. “Then you have this open floor,” he said, standing on an Oriental rug aside the wheelhouse.
An American flag flies off the stern. Pink carnations decorate the table. Four white canvas director’s chairs fit around nicely and fold up when need be. Fishing poles are tucked inside the ribs of the curved ceiling.
“We would put the kids to bed down below and continue our evening up here.” The berth allows for the possibility of two bunk beds. “The mattresses have regular springs,” he said.
The head and the galley are also down below. The heat of the engine warms up the water for the shower. The shower hose pulls out of a box on the wall between the toilet and the sink, and the doors close tightly on the wet space.
“You spray like this,” he said, “so you’re not getting the towels wet.” Water flows through holes in the floor before going to the bilge.
“This all made a huge difference,” he said of the upgrades. “Before that, we had a bag of water that got hot from the sun, hung on the mast. You’d have to shower on deck. You can’t take your clothes off.”
The original toilet was a pump. “I put in an electric toilet,” he said. The boat originally had a minimal electric system and he tried to keep it that way.
“I want comfort but not overboard,” he said. “For instance, this old-fashioned ice box is not electric.”
The interior of the ice box is painted blue in contrast with the white exterior. The door shuts with a typical camlock. Provisions pile up on three shelves around a large block of ice. As it melts, the air remains cold. “It cost more in ice but it was another thing I didn’t want to have,” he said.
Sheer gravity allows “beautiful, hot water” to flow from the kitchen sink with consistent high pressure. A little propane tank supplies a two-burner stove and they keep a bubble-shaped gas barbecue.
The frame, or ribs, are oak and white Alaskan cedar planking. The exposed wood, or brightwork, and trim details are unpainted. The original mahogany is from Honduras but gets replaced as needed with mahogany from the Philippines.
The Mary Lloyd has a 9-foot beam, a very shallow 2.5-foot draft and a displacement hull. “It’s totally round underneath,” he said.
Capt. Faulkner replaced the original Chrysler Ace flathead six gas engine with a Perkins diesel engine. “It’s amazingly fuel efficient,” he said. “It’s also a very slow boat. Full speed is seven knots.”
Back in the day, commuters used this type of motor yacht to get from their homes on Long Island, say Glen Cove, to work on Wall Street. Today, it would take 13 hours to get to New York City from East Hampton, but it’s a lot better than sitting on the Long Island Expressway.
Captain Faulkner has made trips from Manhattan to Nantucket and all points between. “There are so many places to go that are protected areas,” he said. Mystic Seaport in Connecticut being an all-time family favorite.
The Mary Lloyd fares well in rough weather when cruising harbors, bays, inlets, rivers and lakes, but she’s not built for ocean voyages. “You could eke your way to the Caribbean, without having to go into open ocean,” Capt. Faulkner said. That would be a trip.
These days, he’s more excited to visit the “ruins” at Gardiners Island. “It’s filled with seals right now,” he said. “They’re not normally here now.” Seals in great numbers mean great whites.
Still, cruising the waters around East Hampton is a joy. “There are height restrictions, thankfully,” Capt. Faulkner said of the views. “The Montauk water tower is the biggest thing you see.”
The boat has been the backdrop to many fashion shoots, and hosted marriage proposals, and weddings, where Ms. Faulkner officiates and Capt. Faulkner documents the happy day. The family is currently taking clientele out for charters. You can find more info at marylloydcharters.com.
“It’s a madhouse on shore but when you get out here it’s so beautiful and quiet,” he said. A simple sunset cruise with good friends, rosé and crudités sounds like heaven.
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