The Esperanza Rose, last of the public excursion boats on Keuka Lake in recent years, has sailed for the last time. Owner David Wegman announced Monday that the dinner and excursion craft associated with the Esperanza Mansion hotel and restaurant, will not return for business in the spring. Calling it a sad day, Wegman says he made the decision to retire the boat after it was discovered there were inspection issues that would be too costly to repair.

At 65 feet and 85 tons, with a triple-planked wooden hull and twin Detroit Diesel engines, the Rose was built in 1982 on the North Carolina coast. The Wegmans brought her through the canals to Seneca Lake and then over land to Keuka in 2005. It was reported at the time that the cost of transporting her exceeded the cost of the boat itself. In 2009, inspection issues raised by state marine inspectors, required $35,000 worth of work to the Rose. Wegman says the future of the Esperanza Rose is uncertain for now.

Yates County Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Linehan says, "It's a shame. The Esperanza Rose was critically important to Keuka Lake, and was a key talking point in our promotion. We're now a lake without a public vessel." Citing the examples of The Canandaigua Lady, Captain Bill's boats on Seneca Lake, and Midlakes Navigation on Skaneatles Lake, Linehan says, "If you visit the Finger Lakes, you need to touch the water. It's what we're about."

From Memorial Day through the fall foliage season each year, the Esperanza Rose departed Branchport on afternoon sightseeing cruises with bar service, Saturday night moonlight cruises with wine tastings and live music, as well as lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch cruises.