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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone know what the story is on the sailboat thats beached just west of the pass? I saw it yesterday. Hard to tell what it is as I didn't get too close and the seas were BIG. But it has two masts and looks to be atleast a 25'. It would make a great artificial reef.

14,407 Posts
It has been there for awhile. The guy, without insurance mised the pass. It was reported in the Destin Log and discussed on here when it happened. Last fall.

Here is the story.

LAND, WHOA! Crews try to save </h1>luxury sailboat from pounding </h1>waves (PHOTOS)</h1><h2></h2>October 23, 2009 1:16 PM

Tosha Sketo, Florida Freedom Newspapers

Gulf resident Russ Day became a temporary land-dweller Thursday when his 41-foot Morgan Out Island sailboat was beached on the Air Force side of the East Pass jetties.

While attempting to sail into the harbor late Thursday night, stiff winds and rough seas disoriented Day. Fighting the helm, he didn?t see the jetties, which he said are jet black and blend in with the open sea at night. He ended up veering off course and landing on the beach.

?Normally it?s my prime rule not to sail into and out of harbors at night,? Day said. ?But I ended up getting in late and tried to get into the harbor to anchor for the night.?

Originally from New England, Day began sailing in 2005 when he bought his sailboat, valued at about $400,000.


For more photos from the effort, click here.


Having no ties to the area, Day sold his house in New England at the peak of the real estate market and left the comforts of home to set sail. His residence is now his boat, and he has been anchoring in the Destin harbor for about a year.

?For years I toyed around with the idea, and then everything came together,? Day said. ?Everyone thinks I?m nuts, but they also seem to be a little bit jealous.?

While he lacks a few luxuries such as air conditioning, he has everything he needs on his boat. He said he plans to spend five years on the sea, sailing from place to place, anchoring in harbors that attract his interest.

?I liked Destin so much, I said I?d stay awhile,? Day said. ?I might spend another winter here.?

Day?s plans to stay in Destin seemed set when after beaching he realized he could not afford to have Sea Tow pull him back into the water. But when the Log visited him on the beach, the crew of the Hired Gun was working for free to get the vessel ready to be pulled back out into the Gulf.

?It?s very important for all seamen to help anyone on the sea, because that might be you one day,? Captain Bill Waitzman of the Hired Gun said. ?We?re gonna get him off the beach one way or another.?

Captain Waitzman said that the boat is ready to be pulled off the beach after his crew, including Mikey and Christian Myers, spent the better part of a day working. As soon as the tide and wind are right, he?ll drive the Hired Gun into the area and pull the sailboat back out into the Gulf.

?They?re out here out of the goodness of their hearts,? Day said. ?Boaters stick together.?

The old sailboat, which Day said is ?built like a tank,? did not sustain any damage despite his abrupt landing and spending some time on the beach. However, he said he plans to make some improvements, including purchasing a chart plotter that will pinpoint his location and an auto pilot that will enable him to leave the helm when he?s fatigued.

?As long as it has a happy ending ? and I think it will ? this will be healthy for me,? Day said. ?It will get me to invest in some things to make sure this will never happen again.?

And then there is this follow up article.

DESTINED TO BE DERELICT? </h1>Beached sailboat finally succumbs </h1>to the Gulf as ghost boats rear </h1>their ugly head (PHOTOS)</h1><h2></h2>February 03, 2010 3:09 PM

Andrew Metz, Destin Log

After running aground in late October and three months of battery from Gulf waves, the 41-foot Morgan Out Island Sailboat surrendered and rested on the ocean floor, a few dozen yards off shore just west of the West Jetty.

The vessel?s owner, Russ Day, of Massachusetts had purchased the boat with the intention of sailing it for the next five years. This plan was scuttled when he ran the ship aground, trying to navigate the East Pass at night.

Without enough money to remove the boat by hire, Day had hoped to call-to-action the members of Destin?s fishing fleet to rescue the yacht. A number of attempts were made, but none, obviously, were successful.

Captain of the Nathaniel Bowditch, Rex Walley, recognized the need for assistance and spoke with Day about removal. Walley did not have the equipment needed to pull the ship out, but he tried his hardest to set him up with the Destinites who would be able to help.

But Day was not always the easiest person with which to get in touch. At one point, dozens of people had mobilized to help him dig the boat out, but when it came time to put shovels in the sand, Day was not available.

He also was unavailable when The Log attempted to contact him.

Now, pieces of the ship scatter the beach in front of the West Jetty.

For more photos of the vessels, click here.

Beach walkers making their way along the edge of the Pass to the edge of the Gulf will find wood paneling, seat cushions and other remnants of a trip that never happened.

?We helped remove all oil and gas,? said Brue Stippich, Eglin emergency spill response program manager. ?Until it has been declared officially abandoned, we have no stake in removing the boat.?

There are a number of procedures that have to happen before the boat is declared ?abandoned.? Efforts must be exhausted to contact the person and an announcement must be made to the community.

?Once it?s declared abandoned we?ll get out there and chop it up,? Stippich said.

Unfortunately, this particular vessel is out of the hands of those in the city of Destin who work to remove such vessels. Since it lies on the West side of the pass, it is out of the city?s jurisdiction. Removal of this particular boat requires action from Florida Fish and Wildlife and Eglin Air Force Base. Both of which are in the process of organizing crews to assess the state of the boat on the ocean floor.

Okaloosa County, in the past, has allocated funds to help communities, including Destin, move abandoned boats, and they may do the same this time. But it seems that following procedure as efficiently as possible is the quickest path toward removal.

Two other boats have been sitting in the Destin Harbor and Dave Bazylak, environmental code enforcement manager for the city of Destin, has been working with the necessary channels to remove the crafts as soon as possible.

?It?s a shame that people abuse such a beautiful harbor,? said Walley. ?They are taking advantage of a sweet, little port.?

One of the problems encountered is that the owners of abandoned boats have left their vessels because they have been placed in jail. While behind bars, there is no ability, or reason, for the owner to take care of his or her property. Many times, if the person isn?t in jail, they cannot be found at all.

One of the boats in the harbor is a beached houseboat that cannot be deemed a ?derelict? because it remains whole, and as far as anyone knows, seaworthy. For the time being, it poses no threat to anyone in the harbor or the environment

But the second boat has given way to weather and wear, and now sits mostly under water. Action is being taken against this particular vessel, whose owner is in jail, Bazylak said.

?The process obviously needs to be expedited,? said Bazylak. ?All the parties involved work as hard as they can to move as quickly as possible within the restraints of the law.?

The necessary organizations came together in 2008 to help remove over half a dozen derelict boats from the waters around Destin. Most notably were the large boats from Joe?s Bayou and the Destin Harbor. The effort began in earnest after City Councilman and Capt. Kelly Windes declared the harbor a ?marine junkyard? in 2007.

?This is something that has always been an issue,? said Bazylak. ?But it has never been as bad as the last couple of years.?


336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well the pictures from that site do not represent its current condition. That boat was completely under water. The masts were the only things above the waterline.

He should have pulled that thing off the beach a long time ago. I don't understand why it wasn't pulled off right away. Seems like a pretty straightforward job. I probably could have done it myself.

Now its completely flooded and a total loss. I'd like to use it as a reef personally.

6,140 Posts
ya.. They should of tried a trash pump, I saw a guy awhile back cleaning out his little channel where he keeps his boat.. Did a good job...
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