Stolen Halifax sailboat appears to be victim of Hurricane Larry
HALIFAX -- The owner of a sailboat in the Halifax area says he's shocked and saddened his vessel appears to have been claimed by last week's hurricane.
The boat was stolen from a local yacht club - a very rare occurrence on its own - and there are indications whoever took it likely went down with it.
Engineer Graham Collins says the bizarre story played out Friday night, when he got a flurry of phone calls from a friend and then from the United States Coast Guard.
"So, we had a strange conversation, wherein they told me that my emergency locator beacon on our sailboat was active and transmitting a position in the middle of Hurricane Larry," Collins told CTV News in an interview Monday.
Still not convinced there wasn't some kind of mistake, Collins' wife paid a visit to the Armdale Yacht Club and confirmed the bad news. The boat was gone.
The coast guard had been looking for it, too.
"And they saw flares on Friday night, but then, they haven't found anything since then," said Collins.
The beacon was more than 600 kilometres southeast of Halifax when it went off.
More than 10.5 metres long, the boat, named "Secret Plans", was a prized possession for the family, well-used and well-loved.
They'd owned it for more 11 years and put a lot of work into it.
The vessel is listed as stolen on the website Boatwatch.
Police say they are investigating two stolen boats in recent weeks, although one has since been found.
"On Sept. 2, police received a report of a theft of a sailboat from 50 Kings Wharf Place in Dartmouth. The vessel has been recovered and the investigation is ongoing," said Halifax Regional Police Cst. John Macleod in an email to CTV News.
"On Sept. 10, police received a report of a theft of a sailboat from 75 Burgee Run In Halifax. The investigation is ongoing. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the two incidents are related but investigators will continue to explore all investigative leads, including the possibility of related incidents," said MacLeod.
All of this is a bit surreal at the yacht club, where hardly anyone can remember a boat being stolen, let alone steered into a hurricane.
"Well, that's certainly not good news for anybody, but you know, I feel sorry for the guy that's onboard," said boat owner Ian MacDonald.
"I just questioned myself, 'How they come and steal the boat during the hurricane time?'" questioned boat owner Hakan Ustuntas.
With the search now over, and the beacon long-silent, Collins expects he'll never see his boat again.
Although angry about that it, it's tempered with sadness knowing that whoever took it likely went down with it.