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Feb 10, 2009 2:37 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

A pitch to put Frank Mundus's boat on display

Feb 10, 2009 2:37 PM

When Montauk shark hunter Frank Mundus’s famous boat, the Cricket II, was first put on the auction block after he died last September, his widow had hoped it would fetch as much as $150,000.

But after the winning bid came in at $40,000 at the auction on February 4, Henry Uihlein, the owner of the Montauk marina where the boat is stored, began a mad-dash attempt to stop the sale from going through. He wanted to see the Cricket II kept on display at its home port as a memorial to Mr. Mundus.

By Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Uihlein said that Ms. Mundus had rejected the $40,000 bid after he offered her $43,000. But he said he had not yet decided whether or not to mail the auctioneers a $5,000 certified check as a deposit by the end of the day Tuesday.

“I’m waiting for the auctioneer to call me back,” he said. “I’m sticking my neck out. I’ve got so much to lose. If we do get the boat and I pay $50,000, I don’t have the money yet. I own 24 other boats. I don’t need another boat,” he said. “It’s going to cost me a lot in maintenance.”

Mr. Mundus, believed by some to have been Peter Benchley’s model for the shark fisherman Quint in “Jaws,” died on September 10, 2008. His widow put the boat up for sale in an internet auction through the Plainview firm, David R. Maltz and Company. The boat had been appraised at the time at $28,000. The opening bid was $25,000. The 40-foot wooden boat, which was built in 1947 and has a single 435-horsepower diesel engine, has been on blocks at Uihlein’s Marina in Montauk since then.

By the time Mr. Uihlein made a pitch to the East Hampton Town Board on Friday for a loan to buy the boat, he said that he’d already gotten the go-ahead from County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to have the boat placed on a patch of county-owned land near the corner of Flamingo Avenue and West Lake Drive in Montauk. He suggested that Boy Scouts could build a shelter over the boat and put benches around it .

As of Friday, Ms. Mundus had 24 hours to reject or accept the bid. Mr. Uihlein said then that he hoped to raise $50,000 to make a better offer, but he was counting on the Town Board to provide a loan or guarantee.

He did not get far with his pitch. Town Supervisor Bill McGintee said that he’d already spoken to the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee and “the response was not necessarily positive” to the idea of making a public display of the boat.

“It sounds like a noble idea, but if the overwhelming feeling of the community is they don’t want the boat there, I’m not sure we can commit,” he added, suggesting that Mr. Uihlein make his pitch to a number of community groups in Montauk.
Mr. McGintee said that the town would have a hard time finding the funds for the project, because it is not in the 2009 budget and the town would need to solicit public comment before committing any money.

“We do have to consider the community as a whole,” said Town Board member Brad Loewen.

“It would make the entrance to the harbor so presentable,” said Mr. Uihlein. “It’s the most famous boat in Montauk.”

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a wooden boats place is in the water. This is a great boat that should be used not made into a lawn ornament.
By EG (8), 11937 on Feb 12, 09 2:03 PM
a wooden boats place is in the water. This is a great boat that should be used not made into a lawn ornament.
By EG (8), 11937 on Feb 12, 09 2:03 PM
If anyone has read "Fifty Years a Hooker" you'd appreciate what the Cricket II accomplished, not to mention Mr. Mundus, who was without doubt, the most colorful person, in the Fishing/Charter industry.

Regardless of the fate of the "Cricket", we all need to move on and not let an old craft cause such controversy. If we made Monuments of every "famous" boat, my old Kayak would be on Main Street today !

We have bigger fish to Fry !

Ford Fernandez Fordfern@hotmail.com

By Fordfern (6), Quogue on Feb 13, 09 9:03 PM