For sale: Boat used by Eagle Harbor gunman
The wooden boat "Flying Gull" that was used by the Eagle Harbor gunman who fired shots at shoreline homes and officers in July is now for sale.
The state Department of Natural Resources listed the boat in an online auction, and on Wednesday bidders got to inspect the vessel for the very first time.
It was in July when "Flying Gull's" owner, Robert Yeiser, stood on the sailboat, in Eagle Harbor, firing more than 100 shots at the shoreline, then at police responding to the scene.
Yeiser was shot and killed after a four-hour standoff when he pointed a gun at officers.
The boat was considered evidence as Washington State Patrol investigated the shooting. Once the investigation was complete, the gunman's father signed a waiver and relinquished custody of the boat to the Department of Natural Resources’ derelict vessel removal program.
"When we had our DNR historian take a look at the vessel he came to me and my program manager and said, 'You can't destroy this boat. There's some history to it and it needs to either go to a museum or to somebody that would care for it,' " said Jerry Farmer of DNR.
The 55-foot vessel, a Sparkman & Stephens ketch that was previously known as "AWAB'" has a history dating to WWII.
The boat launched in 1940 and was used by the U.S. Navy as a spy ship.
"If you could put together the history of what they actually used, how they operated -- I think it's a great history lesson," said Neil Falkenburg of Olympia who inspected the vessel on Wednesday.
Falkenburg wants to buy the boat. As of Wednesday, he was the highest bidder in the online auction.
"The bones are great - that famous line. It's got good bones, but wow, there's a lot," said Falkenburg. "It's a lot of work."
The overall condition of the hull is unknown, but the boat is being sold as is-- the exterior has some dents, scratches and bullet holes. On the inside, a few leaks and still some items belonging to the owner.
"I think that if it goes to the right individual that has the resources, the knowledge and the ability to bring an old wooden vessel back to life, I think if it goes to the right hand that it can be definitely salvaged and turned into something wonderful once again," said Farmer, who cleared some of Yeiser's belongings from the boat before the public viewing.
Bidders could visit the boat for inspection only on Wednesday. The online auction closes on Oct. 25 at 4:00 pm. Farmer said people from all over the country have shown an interest, including someone from Georgia.
"This boat has got such great history, It's just incredible," said Falkenburg.