51-foot sailboat freed from Atlantic Beach surf
Spirit of Liberty had been grounded since this weekend
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Efforts to free a 51-foot sailboat named Spirit of Liberty from the surf in Atlantic Beach were finally successful early Tuesday evening.
Salvage crews tried using a towboat to pull the stranded sailboat free on Monday and Tuesday, but the main rope broke several times before crews were able to pull the sailboat back into open water just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The efforts attracted a crowd near 11th Street.
WATCH: Sailboat freed from surf
The Coast Guard responded about 6:30 a.m. Sunday to a distress call for the Spirit of Liberty. Crews said they rescued the two people on board when the boat lost power and became disabled about a mile south of the mouth of the St. Johns River.
The Coast Guard said due to the strong wind and high waves, crews were unable to tow it Sunday. Rough waters slammed against the boat, causing it to rock back and forth, and at times it appeared as if it could tip over. High tide, high winds and choppy waters also stalled efforts Monday.
The two men who own the boat said they live in Georgia, but they were bringing the boat up from West Palm Beach over the weekend when they lost power. When authorities let the owner on the boat Sunday night to collect some personal items, he said that he noticed thousands of dollars of items and tools had been stolen when someone climbed aboard during low tide. A GoFundMe account was set up to help.
The Coast Guard said it was monitoring any possible pollution, but it did not appear that the boat was leaking.
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