Boat run aground on Ocean Beach after birthday joy ride
UPDATE 11 a.m. April 16, 2011: The operation to salvage a stolen boat run aground on Ocean Beach hit a snag Friday because the boat’s propellers dug into the sand and had to be removed before tractors could pull it out of the water.
The tractors finally dragged the “Dancing Wolf” motor yacht across the beach around sunset Friday, taking it to the south end of the sea wall at about Lincoln Way. The boat stayed in that location overnight, watched by a private security guard.
As of about 10 a.m. Saturday morning, salvage crews were preparing to use a crane to lift the boat onto a truck trailer — an operation expected to take two to three hours — and haul the vessel to a harbor in Point Richmond for repairs.
A worker for the KKMI marine services company said that in addition to some minor damage to the boat’s fiberglass hull, some of its propulsion and steering systems had been damaged. He also said that when the boat pulled away from its dock in Vallejo, it was still moored to a cleat on the dock and pulled the cleat out.
Larry Wolfe, who said he has owned the “Dancing Wolf” for five years, watched the salvage operation Saturday morning.
“It’s the most beautiful and fastest boat in the harbor, that’s why he stole it,” Wolfe said of the bizarre incident in which a wanted man stole the boat from Vallejo on or shortly after his birthday, and later beached it on Ocean Beach.
Asked what he expected the bill to be for the extensive operation to salvage his boat, Wolfe smiled and said, “Awful.”
A salvage company is preparing to remove a boat from Ocean Beach after a man allegedly stole the 38-foot motor yacht from Vallejo on his birthday, took it out of San Francisco Bay and ran it aground on the beach Friday morning.
Beach visitors first reported seeing the “Dancing Wolf” stuck on the shore near Fulton Street at 5:46 a.m. Friday morning, according to Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokesman George Durgerian.
When National Park Service police inspected the boat, they found one person aboard: an apparently intoxicated man whose 35th birthday was Thursday, April 14, the day the boat’s owner reported it stolen. Park police checked the man’s record and discovered he had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest in another jurisdiction, so they took him into custody and took him to the Presidio until they could transfer him. Durgerian said he didn’t know what jurisdiction issued the warrant.
Durgerian said he wasn’t aware of any indication anyone else had been on board the boat.
Ocean Beach salvage
The “Dancing Wolf,” a 380 Sundancer motor yacht manufactured by Sea Ray, remained beached early Friday afternoon. But Tim Parker of Parker Diving Service, the company handling salvage operations, said he expected to have the boat off the beach by dark.
Parker explained that his plan is to use a large tractor to drag the boat south along the beach to about Lincoln Way, then across the sand to the sea wall and parking lot there. A 90-ton crane east of the sea wall will then lift the boat up and over the wall, and onto a truck trailer.
Parker said that the operation would be dangerous, and he expected that authorities will keep the public away from the boat and equipment. It’s also a tricky operation, he said, because his team will need to avoid Ocean Beach’s fire pits and any snowy plovers — endangered birds — that may be in the area.
The “Dancing Wolf” has only slight damage in spite of its ordeal on the beach, Parker said, but it’s enough that the boat can’t be floated off the beach and into the water.
Although Sea Ray no longer makes the 380 Sundancer, used boats are listed online for sale at prices ranging between $70,000 and $340,000. A 1999 model year 380 Sundancer carries a 275-gallon fuel tank and weighs in at 18,300 pounds.
In spite of the difficulty of the salvage operation, Parker said it was nothing new to him.
“I’ve been in business 42 years,” he said. “I’ve probably salvaged 15 or 17 boats off Ocean Beach over the years.”
Kristine Mendoza contributed to this report.
This article has been modified since it was first published, to correct the stock fuel capacity of a 380 Sundancer boat.
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- Wild birthday night ends in man running stolen boat aground at Ocean Beach | Richmond District Blog of San Francisco (richmondsfblog.com)