UCSC Student's Dream of Living at Sea Is Shipwrecked

The weekend storms washed two sailboats onto Santa Cruz beaches.


If you attended the Fifth Annual Chocolate Festival this weekend, and happened to glance out the ballroom windows of the Cocoanut Grove, you would see a broken dream lying on the Main Beach, battered by the weekend's winter storm. 

The broken dream is 1971 Coronado 27-foot sailboat, destroyed by storm swell while anchored off Cowell's beach, west of the Municipal Wharf. 

The boat belongs to Alex, a 20-year-old anthropology sophomore at UCSC, who has long dreamed of living aboard a sailboat in the Monterey Bay.

Alex asked for his last name to be omitted from this article because his parents are not aware that he has a sailboat, or that it sunk off the Santa Cruz Wharf.

"I had tried to get support from my parents to live out on a boat, but my parents said that it's probably not the best idea, so I just went ahead and bought it anyway, back in the beginning of the school year."

Alex's boat had been anchored and moored off of Cowell's beach for months while he made repairs, and waited for a slip to open at the Yacht Harbor. 

"The last couple days I've been cutting down and fixing my tiller, and this morning I came out to check out the waves and see if I could take my dingy out there and then I looked and my boat wasn't where I had left it. Then I found it on the beach. I called the cops and they were like 'Oh, we have been looking for you!'"

Alex blames the high swell for destroying his boat.

"I had it hooked to a 10,000-pound anchor, I thought that is about as strong as you can get. But I guess it just got loose somehow. I thought it had come around the end of the Wharf, but they (Santa Cruz Lifeguards and Police) told me that it had gotten into the pilings of the Wharf and had had to be towed out."

Alex's boat wasn't the only one destroyed by the storm's swell this weekend; another washed ashore on Seabright beach. 

There are elements of both good and bad timing to Alex's shipwreck:

"I only got insured two days ago, but I also had just got a slip in the harbor which opened up at around the same time."

Alex expects his insurance claim to be processed in the next few days, at which point the boat will be removed from the beach for either disposal or repairs.

For now, Alex's dreams of living at sea are a little less realistic.

"If I really really want to live on a sailboat, I dunno, maybe I can put my mind back on it and get another boat... or I could trailer it up to Bonny Doon somewhere and repair it and like live on it up there," said Alex, only half-joking.

Maria Grusauskas January 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Aw well.. Glad he got insurance two days ago, thats lucky! Cool story
Lisa January 23, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I'm sad for Alex. It's hard to have your dreams smashed. But I'm also sad that, at the age of 20, he seems to need his parents approval in order to fulfill his dreams. :(


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