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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

$25,000 Sinks Yacht's Hopes

SAN DIEGO, California -- A sleek racing yacht that was to have been the symbol of a new Russia, but which never made it to the water, was purchased for $25,000 by a Canadian sailboat broker using a credit card.


The yacht Age of Russia, entered in the 1992 America's Cup races by the Leningrad Yacht Club, received worldwide attention when a feud among its Russian backers left the crew stranded in San Diego without wages, food or sails.


The stranded sailors were wined and dined by rival crews and yachting enthusiasts while they awaited money and support from Russia that never materialized.


Eventually, attempts to make a Russian debut in the premier yachting event, and even the boat itself, were abandoned.


Enter Toronto yacht broker Joseph Webber, who was low on ready cash and pulled out his American Express card Tuesday to buy the boat from the San Diego Maritime Museum, which had it on display as part of this year's America's Cup exhibition.


"I think it's ironic that [the yacht] ended up being purchased by an American Express credit card," the museum's executive director, Ray Ashley, said Wednesday.


Webber was on his way home and could not be reached for comment.


Webber bought four other sailboats before making the deal on the Age of Russia, a 73-foot winged-keel hull that was never rigged to sail because of the dispute. The yacht remained at a local shipyard, which donated it to the museum last year for its America's Cup display.