Boat Builder Holland Hospitalized

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The Shawnee, stripped down to its timbers, awaits final disassembly as shipwright Dennis Holland is hospitalized. Photo by Eric Longabardi

Newport Beach shipbuilder Dennis Holland was admitted to Hoag Hospital last Monday complaining of severe pain in his stomach.

Holland, who has been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer has been battling the disease for years.  He has been receiving regular chemotherapy treatment to fight the disease for some time.

Holland’s hospitalization comes as a deadline looms for him to complete the disassembly of the Shawnee, a 72-foot sloop he has been restoring at his home for several years. That deadline is part of an agreement he made with the city in the spring to halt the city’s legal action against him over the Shawnee.

According to his wife, Betty, Holland went to see his regular doctor on Monday and due to the severity of the pain he was experiencing and his overall condition was told  to “go to the hospital immediately.”

She said that’s exactly what they did.

Holland has been undergoing a battery of tests this week at Hoag Hospital trying to pinpoint what may be causing the new and more severe health issues. So far, according to Betty Holland, his doctors have been unable to pinpoint anything specific.

Meanwhile, she said, “he’s just been sleeping and resting mostly since Monday. … He hasn’t had anything to eat since last Sunday”.

The Independent did speak with Dennis Holland briefly on Thursday. Holland was able to say that he has been working on the ship extensively and had been working on it last week, as well, before this latest setback stopped him.

The issue of the ship and the agreement between Holland and the city is slated to be before an Orange County Superior Court judge on Sept. 12, according to a previously released city statement on the case put out last May. The city made clear in that statement its position that Holland must adhere to a timeline for the project. The statement does not address any Holland’s medical issues.

“Mr. Holland will have until September 1, 2012 to disassemble the boat. To ensure Mr. Holland’s compliance with this deadline, the court set a compliance hearing for September 12, 2012. The judgment also calls for Mr. Holland to either remove the disassembled parts of the boat from his property or store them in a manner that does not violate any provision of the NBMC or any other law.”

For now the ship sits where it has sat for many years, mostly torn apart and being readied for full disassembly.  Whether or not Holland will be physically able to continue the work remains to be seen.

Betty Holland told the Independent on Thursday that  “the doctors might let him go home tomorrow,” but for now she is holding a steady vigil by her husband’s side at Hoag Hospital waiting for good news that his medical condition has improved enough for him to go home.


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