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Sa'ads Boat Idles, Occasionally Sinks

On a recent trip to the marina the boat, a Regal Express Cruiser that comfortably holds up to six people, is easy to spy. Tethered to a dock post on the water's edge, it is all but banked at low tide, drifting in 6 inches of murky brown water. When high tide comes in the boat tilts, dramatically dipping to one side in 3 feet of water.

A VA number — required by the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for all operable boats in Virginia waterways — is clearly visible on the side of the boat. But a search of that office's database turns up no match for El-Amin's Andrea 1. A spokesperson with the department says El-Amin has no current boat license or registration listed in his name.

Style was unable to contact El-Amin by presstime.

It had been reported two years ago that El-Amin owed thousands of dollars in back dock fees to the marina, which is on the James River near Fort Brady, just east of the Osborne Boat Landing. Since then, the weather-beaten boat has lingered there, neglected. "It would cost more to get it running than it's worth," says one worker at the marina who asked not to be named. He estimates the boat had initially been worth $15,000.

Another worker says the dilapidating boat is an environmental concern. "How about the time it sank and caused an oil spill?" he asks coworkers.

Less Porter, manager of the Richmond Yacht Basin, refers Style's questions to the owners of the marina. They decline to comment.

It's impossible to say how long the Andrea 1 may linger, fading and bobbing. For now it's just fodder for those in the business, who sarcastically refer to it as the "Robert E. Lee."

"We all sit around and talk about it," says Michaele Upshur, who helps run Kingsland Reach Marina just down the river. She says she doesn't understand why the boat is still there. But sooner or later, she says, nature will take care of it. "The next time it floods," she says, "come on over and I'll show you that boat." — BRANDON WALTERS

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