“Lucky” Still Out of Luck
Spud Point Marina Manager, John Cruger-Hansen, says that because the boat is made of concrete, it is wedged in and not about to move on its own.
A concrete sailboat sounds like the ultimate oxymoron when you think of a sleek boat skimming over the waves.
Yet a ferro-concrete boat, with a hull made of cement over a metal frame, can weigh just about the same as a wood boat of the same size.
The difference, in the case of a grounded or wrecked boat, is that one of wood will eventually break up and scatter debris about.
With a concrete boat, this does not happen. It will not just rot away.
Cruger-Hansen says, “There is nothing particularly hazardous about where it is, but it is an eyesore. Any toxic materials like oil or gas have long been taken off or washed away. I don’t think there would have been much on it in the first place.”
Although it is not considered a hazard to other boats because it is not in the dredged channel that cuts through the Bay, he said that when the tide is out, a small boat could land next to it. “It could certainly be a risk for kids or anyone else trying to fool around on it.”
The owner of the sailboat, Dan McGillicuddy, had kept it at the Sonoma County-owned marina for a few years. By January 2007 though, he had fallen so far behind in paying the berth fees, the County had him evicted.
He moved the “Lucky” out of the marina and anchored it in the harbor nearby. A storm in the fall of that same year apparently dislodged it and pushed it up on the mudflats.
When McGillicuddy tried to move it, he was stopped by members of the Bodega Bay Coast Guard Search and Rescue Station. After boarding and inspecting it, the boat was deemed not seaworthy.
Instead of arranging to have the boat hauled away and taken out of the water, the owner abandoned it. He has not paid for the berthing fees and he has not been able to be reached for some time.
Cruger-Hansen said that it has been estimated that it would cost $50,000 to move it now. “No one wants to come up with that.”
“I sent an email to the Coast Guard suggesting they tow it out to sea and use it for target practice, but I have not heard back,” he added half-jokingly.
Instead the marina manger has put in a request for a grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways. The money needed would come from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund.
“They told me they were ‘fully-booked’ for this fiscal year, but the new year for the State starts on July 1st, so I will be applying for the grant money then.”
“The boat will have to be re-floated and then towed to San Francisco,” he explained. “It’s the only place where it can be taken care of. They will have to use jack-hammers to break it up and then take care of the disposal of the pieces.”
Not a happy future for the “Lucky.”
Once in pieces it may end up, as many large concrete ships built in the U.S. during WWII did, as part of a breakwater. Two of those ship hulls make up part of the wharves in Yaquina Bay, Oregon.
“No one really wants boats being left stuck out in their bay or harbor,” Cruger-Hansen asserted, “and it really is just an eyesore in our beautiful bay.”