Gannon & Benjamin purchases waterfront property

The Martha's Vineyard Times building was part of the sale.

The Gannon & Benjamin and MV Times buildings have been sold to Tisbury Working Waterfront LLC.

Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway Inc. has closed on a deal to purchase property at 30 Beach Road in Vineyard Haven from the DeSorcy family. The purchase was finalized March 17, Nat Benjamin, a partner with Gannon & Benjamin, told The Times.

“We really are excited,” Benjamin said in a brief phone interview. “We’ve been leasing for more than 40 years and hoping to acquire this property, and now it’s come to pass.”

Benjamin had just months to convince investors to help him acquire the property. 

In a press release about the purchase, Gannon & Benjamin said it cements “the company’s future with Vineyard Haven’s working waterfront.”

Eventually, the boatbuilder would like to move its other operation, which is currently behind Tisbury Marketplace, to the 30 Beach Road property. 

“We would like to have the whole operation on one side of the road. That’s going to be a while down the road,” Benjamin said.

For now, Benjamin said, The Martha’s Vineyard Times will continue to lease the property that fronts Beach Road. 

Beach Road Properties LLC, the DeSorcy family, sold the property for $2.7 million to Tisbury Working Waterfront LLC., the group formed by Gannon & Benjamin, according to public records at the Dukes County Registry of Deeds.

Gannon & Benjamin has been a fixture on the waterfront, and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. “It feels great to ensure that our young shipwrights will have a place on the Island to continue this tradition of creative and sustaining work for years to come,” Benjamin said.

Hundreds of traditionally built boats have come through the shop to be built, repaired, or refit, creating an international attraction that draws visitors to the Island every year. 

“Back in the ’70s, Nat and I were just a couple of hippies trying to have fun building boats; we had no idea we’d end up in the position we are today,” said partner Ross Gannon in the release. “This is an amazing opportunity for us to invest in the community and ensure the future of a vibrant, working waterfront here in Vineyard Haven.” 

The boatyard has been leasing its current beachfront location since 1980. After the property went up for sale in 2020, Tisbury Working Waterfront LLC was formed with G&B as one of the stakeholders. This provided the purchasing power to buy the lot, securing the boatyard’s ability to function with minimal changes to its current operations. 

“This fulfills a long-standing dream,” Brad Abbott, who joined G&B as a partner in 2010, said in the release. “We weren’t sure it would be possible, and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone in the community for joining together to make this happen.”  

In August 2018, the DeSorcys put all of their properties on the Vineyard Haven waterfront on the market for $8 million. In February 2020, when the properties failed to sell, they were split into four parcels, and the overall price was dropped to $7.3 million.



  1. I am very happy that Gannon and Benjamin were able to purchase 30 Beach Road. Congratulations to them and to all wooden boat builders.

  2. Having the good fortune to live and eventually own a piece of the Vineyard for 44+ years, I’ve viewed, first hand, what the Gannon & Benjamin Boat Yard has been able to accomplish. During that time frame, they’ve anchored the original Holmes Hole, now ‘Vinegar’ Haven Harbor and Town, to it’s centuries-old recognition, as a beacon for growth.

    Your business will continue, and will I, to contribute to the healthy growth of a prosperous place to live and grow, as a community and Island The Vineyard has a natural tendency to be ‘parochial’ and protective of their presumed area. While respecting each and every town’s potential growth, we all should support a business, like Gannon & Benjamin Boat Yard, that will have a lasting impact on the growth & survival of this small piece of ‘Heaven on Earth”.

  3. Let’s hope that once this pandemic has been laid to rest, our community can gather together and celebrate this purchase.
    I for one watched as a fire burning the boat yard, invigorated the community to help them rebuild. Congratulations

  4. Congratulations to you Nat and Ross!
    Deep gratitude for keeping classic boat building alive and thriving on the Vineyard for all these years.

  5. I have a serious case of warm fuzzies about this. Congratulations, and long live the Gannon and Benjamin Boatyard. Hats off! Thank you to all who helped to make this dream come true and to preserve the working marine character of Vineyard Haven’s waterfront. This is great news.

  6. What a terrific way to usher in Spring! Congratulations Gannon & Benjamin for laying the firm foundation for ongoing wooden boatbuilding on the Vineyard! You have always embraced the whole Vineyard in your efforts and now that will continue. Also a thank you to the original owners of the land for their long time stewardship of this part of Tisbury’s working harbor.

  7. I have no doubt that two of the greatest guys I’ve ever met have a solid and worthwhile team in league with them. Congratulations on dropping anchor in exactly the right spot for who you are. Congratulations to everyone involved!

  8. Hearty congratulations Nat and Ross.
    You and your work are a blessing to the island.
    It’s wonderful news and so richly deserved.

  9. I send huge congratulations and thanks to you guys for being there. Now the next generations will have a chance to experience this inspired crew of folks continuing the traditional art of building and repairing wooden watercraft and much more.


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