Plan to Steal Yacht Runs Aground

Two would-be pirates stole a yacht and ran it aground near Purcell’s Cove on Tuesday. They needed Coast Guard assistance to get out of the boat, but disappeared before police arrived hours later.

By Bryn Karcha

Two would-be yacht thieves are still at large after calling the Coast Guard for help when they stole a yacht and ran it aground early Tuesday morning.

The stolen yacht did not belong to a member of the Armdale Yacht Club, but was only there for the winter. (Bryn Karcha Photo)

Two suspects stole a 12-metre sailboat from the Armdale Yacht Club in the early hours of the morning. The ship ran aground a short distance later in the Purcell’s Cove area, prompting the suspects to contact the Coast Guard for assistance.

“At 0130 hours on Tuesday the coastguard lifeboat Sambro was tasked to a stranded vessel. And at 0211 hours it was on scene,” said Coast Guard communications manager Stephen Bornais.

“And as a result of that emergency call, the Coast Guard was tasked to remove two people from the stranded vessel and took them safely to shore.”

Though the Coast Guard did assist in getting the would-be sailors to dry land, the suspects had disappeared by the time the police arrived at 10:12 a.m. this morning.

Police have the names of the suspects, but so far haven’t been able to find or contact them, said Constable Dianne Woodworth of the Halifax Regional Police.

Though they were the first to respond, Bornais explained that it’s not the role of the Coast Guard to apprehend suspects.

“The safety of mariners is our top priority,” he said.

The ship was wintering in the yacht club, though the owner was not a member of the club.

“It was just a boat that came here to winter,” said Jeff Nelson, a four year member of the Armdale Yacht Club. “Because of our sheltered harbour, a lot of people come here to winter here because it’s very well protected from the winter and the winter winds and ice.”

The stolen yacht did not belong to a member of the Armdale Yacht Club, but was only there for the winter. (Bryn Karcha Photo)

Nelson admits there isn’t much that can be done to secure a boat from theft.

“Short of encasing it in cement, there’s no way to keep someone from taking it. There’s usually one lock on the companionway hatch that you have to get through to get in. After that, a little bit of knowledge of how boats work, it’s not terribly difficult. The thing is, what do you do with it afterwards?”

He says the threat isn’t very high, and he’s not worried about his own vessel.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of an incident like this anywhere in Canada,” he said. “But realistically, in the 30-foot bracket, there are much better boats for people to steal.”

Staff at the Armdale Yacht Club declined to comment.