The Steamship Authority has sold the long-troubled ferry Flying Cloud to a Venezuelan company for $3.9 million.

Boat line general manager Wayne C. Lamson announced Wednesday that Gran Cacique II bought the high-speed vessel, which ran on the Hyannis-Nantucket route from 2000 to 2006.

The SSA paid nearly $8 million for the Flying Cloud, which was built by Derector Shipyards in Mamaroneck, N.Y. The boat line placed the vessel in service to compete against Hy-Line in the Hyannis-Nantucket high-speed ferry market.

But the Flying Cloud — whose name was suggested by the late Grace Grossman, then the Nantucket governor, after a famous clipper ship — ran into trouble from the start. Bedeviled by groundings and frequent engine breakdowns, the vessel gained a reputation for unreliable service.


In 2006, the boat line spent $1.5 million on new main engines for the Flying Cloud. Although the vessel became more reliable, SSA governors decided to replace the Flying Cloud in 2007 with a new high-speed vessel, the Iyanough.

In August 2006, the boat line issued an invitation for bids for the Flying Cloud, hoping to get at least $5 million. No one bid on the vessel.

As a result, the boat line became free to sell the vessel using the best means possible. The SSA listed the Flying Cloud with several brokers and advertised the ferry in marine industry publications.

A prepared statement Wednesday from the boat line said a recent survey estimated the fair market value of the vessel at $4 million, citing a different market than in 2006 and competition from other vessels for sale in the marketplace.

In the prepared statement, Mr. Lamson said: “Given the current market conditions, I am pleased that the Steamship Authority was able to realize an amount from the sale that was close to the value we have been carrying on our books. It was a fair deal for both parties, and we look forward to hearing about what we hope will be its successful passenger service in Venezuelan waters.”