Big boats have a way of dooming politicians with big ambitions.
Colorado Sen. Gary Hart's presidential hopes vanished when news of an 83-foot yacht named "Monkey Business" -- and a woman named Donna Rice -- appeared in newspapers in the 1980s.
More recently, Kwame Brown, the D.C. Council chairman and a one-time political star, resigned after prosecutors charged him with lying on a loan application.
Part of the reason Brown "overstated his income by tens of thousands of dollars," authorities said, was to buy "Bullet Proof."
Housed at the District Yacht Club along the Anacostia River, "Bullet Proof" is a 38-foot Chris-Craft boat that Brown told the Washington Post he bought for $50,000.
Little else is known about the yacht, and the District Yacht Club in Southeast Washington tried to maintain that Thursday.
Private security guards refused to allow a photographer onto the property and later blocked the photographer's efforts to shoot images beyond the property line.
While Brown's alleged misdeeds remain glaringly public, the ship that set him on course toward conviction remains parked.
Brown might not even have much choice about when it cruises on the Anacostia River again. If he pleads guilty Friday morning as expected, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon will become the captain of Brown's fate -- and his free time.
-- Alan Blinder