A Vancouver family’s handcrafted sailboat, stolen hours before its maiden voyage, has returned to its builder just in time for Father’s Day.
Duncan McDonald returned from camping with his children on Sunday to find his wife standing beside the ship, named “Saller Doodad” by her little ones.
“It’s such a ridiculous and unbelievable story,” said McDonald, fresh off the ferry as the children happily boarded the green and white boat. “It’s amazing… It’s such a confluence of things. It’s amazing how many people got involved and I’m so grateful.
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The sailboat, 14 feet long and under 200 pounds, was McDonald’s pandemic project. He started it both to develop his skills and create good memories with his family.
It was constructed from fiberglass, plywood, two-by-fours and other salvaged materials, and for many months was used as a home and teahouse by her children.
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He finished it last Thursday, ahead of its launch over a Father’s Day weekend in Sechelt, but it was stolen overnight from the electricity pole it was chained to at his home near East Streets 25th and Fraser.
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According to Vancouver police, the force’s marine unit recovered the boat on Saturday after it was spotted by members of the public under the Cambie Bridge. The Good Samaritans had seen media coverage of the family’s story, which was widely shared on Facebook.
“It appears he was abandoned near shore and boarded up by people who attempted to rescue him,” wrote Sgt. Steve Addison in a statement Sunday.
He said no arrests have been made and the theft is still under investigation.
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Saller Doodad has a few bumps, bruises and missing parts, but the Vancouver Police Department helped clean it up in preparation for McDonald’s return.
“We’re just trying to do our best and get it seaworthy and ready for you guys,” an officer said, speaking to McDonald’s wife at the docks.
McDonald said he now owns a “pirate ship” – a boat that was stolen, left on a wild adventure and returned. He needs around 15 hours of work, he estimated, and he now hopes Saller Doodad makes his big debut in time for his and his wife’s birthday.
— With files by Grace Ke
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