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Newport Beach boat builder's dream may have finally run aground

Dennis holland

A Newport Beach boat builder’s efforts to restore a historic 1916 sailboat in a yard at his home may have finally run aground.

After Dennis Holland, 67, missed an Aug. 30 date to disassemble the Shawnee, Newport Beach city attorneys this week asked the courts to appoint a receiver and remove the boat from a side yard at his Holiday Road home.

While this appears to bring the restoration close to its end, Holland said he remains optimistic despite being slowed by recent chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. He said the treatment has left him too weak to tend to the 72-foot ketch.

But in the coming days, Holland said he will finish his latest treatment and plans to begin work again. But he may not have enough of the boat disassembled by the Oct. 11 hearing, when he will try to convince a judge to grant him more time.

"If I could just slowly work up to it, it would be great," Holland said Thursday.

City attorneys say he has had enough time.

Holland began the project in 2006, and in 2010 the city passed an ordinance that requires permits for such long-term construction projects. He applied for and received a permit, but because Holland wouldn't give the city an estimated completion date, the permit was not renewed.

Meanwhile, neighbors and city officials grew increasingly tired of the half-built wooden ship in the West Bay residential neighborhood. Boat lovers, though, came from around the country to his support.

The city sued Holland last year, and the two sides reached a settlement in April, just before a court injunction would have forced him to remove the boat.

Since then, Holland said, he worked on the boat for about five weeks, but had to stop for chemotherapy. He says he wrote the city attorney and asked for an extension, but never received a response.

City Atty. Aaron Harp says he does not know if the city received a request.

The city sent a code enforcement officer to Holland's home Sept. 4, took photos of the boat, and filed a motion later that day.

"Mr. Holland does not appear to have the will or ability to remove the boat," Harp wrote in an email, "so we are asking the court to appoint someone to manage the removal for him."


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--Mike Reicher, Daily Pilot

Photo: Dennis Holland looks over his rebuilding efforts of the 72-foot Shawnee, parked between his barn and home in Newport Beach. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

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