published Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Missouri man buys massive yacht, puts it on a pond

SIKESTON, Mo. — George Morris bought a yacht, but he’s not setting sail on the high seas. He’s keeping it on a small pond near his southeast Missouri home in Sikeston.

The Sikeston Standard Democrat reports that Morris saw the movie “Secondhand Lions” and began trying to recreate a portion of the film in which one of the characters floats a yacht in a pond.

Through a series of contacts, Morris was able to find a luxury double-cabin Hatteras in Talladega, Ala. Getting it back to Missouri wasn’t easy because the boat was too big to fit under interstate highway overpasses.

So he had to first remove the top deck and bring it separately. He returned for the bottom and brought back an 18-foot palm tree acquired in Florida for good measure.

Additionally, the weight of the bottom part was too much for the trailers pulling it. Morris said it destroyed four during the trip.

“The trailers would fold up like a shoe box and smash them,” he said.

That left Morris, a self-described “old bachelor, temporarily stranded. For a while he had to camp in the yacht at a gas station in Pell City, Ala., until help could arrive.

That stirred curiosity in town, and TV news crews did stories on the stranded yacht.

“I gained so many friends,” said Morris of the ordeal. “Hundreds of people have autographed my yacht. I became a celebrity in Alabama.”

The yacht is drawing plenty of attention now that it’s in Sikeston, too. Morris proudly shows off the boat, appropriately named after the movie from which Morris drew inspiration.

A contractor has completed digging a pond on land Morris owns just off Interstate 55 near the former Sikeston Drag Strip.

The yacht has mahogany walls, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Morris plans to rent it out for honeymooners.

Many of his new friends from Alabama have already said they plan to visit and spend a night on the yacht.

“It was a whole lot more than I planned on,” Morris said.

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