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Steve Bannon's $28 million ride docks in Noank

I remember, because I am pretty old, when Ted Kennedy's schooner Mya was moored in Stonington Harbor, and then Stonington Borough Warden Andrew Maynard used some connections at the village's Water Street Café.

Maynard managed to score a table for dinner inside the snug little restaurant right next to the visiting U.S. senator, a childhood political inspiration for the borough warden, who eventually went on to score his own seat in the Connecticut Senate.

I'm sure there have been many other celebrities who, over the years, have passed through Stonington Borough by way of its charming harbor. Visits by Barbra Streisand's yacht are part of village lore.

And then Wednesday, the yacht that made headlines around the world last week, when it was raided off Westbrook so that President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon could be arrested and taken into custody, drifted for a while off the Stonington Harbor breakwater.

In the end, Lady May — 151 feet of floating steel-gray glamour — didn't enter the harbor but instead slid back out into the middle of Fishers Island Sound.

"Do you know what boat that is?" an animated gentleman said to me Wednesday, as we both stood in the parking lot at Stonington Point, at the end of the borough peninsula, watching Lady May fade away toward Noank.

"I do," I answered, explaining I had come out to the point hoping to get a better look at the boat.

The 6-year-old Lady May is owned by a friend of Bannon's, outcast Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, and is listed for sale with an asking price of $27.9 million.

It makes a lot of best of yachting lists, a most extraordinary boat.

The living room furniture sits on a circular platform that turns, like a record turntable, so that you can admire the view from the picture windows from different perspectives, as you socialize.

This is apparently how populist Bannon, accused of bilking build-the-wall believers out of their hard-earned money, has been spending the pandemic summer. The alleged scheme reminds me of the Trump University scam, in which millions have been paid in settlements with victims.

I found the Bannon arrest very reassuring, evidence there is still some equitable juice in the criminal justice system in the time of Trump.

I hear Lady May had been poking around Fishers Island Sound for weeks before it made headlines out of Westbrook.

My new friend from the parking lot at the point is Tom Larco of Old Saybrook, who had come with his wife, Angela, to Stonington for a little sightseeing Wednesday, after a lunch in Mystic.

They spotted Lady May while visiting the point, recognizing the yacht from its recent visit to their beach community in Old Saybrook, Indian Town.

It actually anchored there, and Larco said he and neighbors were both amazed to see such a big yacht close to shore, and also surprised it didn't go aground or hit the rocks.

They went out and circled it in a small boat, trying unsuccessfully to engage the crew, who didn't seem to speak much English, in a chat.

Angela Larco said she texted one of her children Wednesday afternoon to say: "The Chinese yacht is following us!"

Both the Larcos and I decided to head to Noank, to see if Lady May might make a landing there.

Sure enough, it was creating a bit of a sensation at the mouth of the Mystic River, where sailors were getting their small boats ready for the Wednesday night races on Fishers Island Sound.

The yacht tied up at Noank Shipyard.

I don't know about any other celebrities, but I am pretty sure Bannon was no longer aboard.

A condition of his $5 million bail is that he can't travel on private planes or boats.

I can only imagine his tour of the eastern Connecticut shoreline, lounging in a yacht living room that rotates to capture the view, was the best part of his pandemic summer.

The felony charges he faces are serious.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


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