Vancouver News: Family’s stolen sailboat found


It’s been a whirlwind weekend for a Vancouver dad after a sailboat he spent a year building with his young daughters was stolen and then recovered – just in time for Father’s Day.

Aided by a six-year-old and a three-year-old, Duncan McDonald built the boat in his backyard. Describing it as a passion project that he hoped would allow him to spend some quality time with his daughters during construction and beyond, it’s truly one of a kind.

“It was just a really neat adventure,” he says of the process, adding that he had never built anything like this before and didn’t even really know how to navigate when he started.

“I ended up making absolutely every part of the boat, from the oars to the sail to the mast – the whole thing… You don’t know how something like this is going to turn out and it turned out really, really well. And it came together.”

Beneath the green paint are drawings made by children and before it was sea worthy it functioned as a fort and a favorite place for tea parties.

“There’s the spot where I have spots where I let a three-year-old paint where I shouldn’t have let a three-year-old paint. There are still bumps where I let a six-year-old jump up and down,” he told CTV News.

The day before the family left for a camping trip that would include the boat’s maiden voyage, it was stolen from where it was locked behind their home in East Vancouver.

McDonald’s realized there were none left when he went to take out the trash on Friday morning.

“It was as shocking as you can imagine. I came back and was able to tell the kids their boat was gone and my pregnant wife that it was gone. There was a lot of crying in the house” , he recalls.

His three-year-old, he said, was the quickest to recover and said optimistically “the police will find him”. The rest of the family was not so confident.

Thanks to online posts sharing the story, media coverage of the theft, and the work of the Vancouver Police Department’s Marine Unit, the boat was – in fact – found.

sergeant. Steve Addison says he was spotted in False Creek under the Cambie Bridge by a number of people who recognized him as the one owned by McDonald’s.

“The theft is still under investigation and no arrests have been made,” he wrote in an email.

While the boat was collected on Saturday, the family was away on their already planned camping trip and were unable to see it again on their own until Sunday.

“I’m still dealing with that unreal 48 hours,” McDonald says.

“I’m really, really grateful that people connected with the story and looked for the boat because otherwise it would have disappeared and it would have been a really sad end to a really interesting year… It’s been so wonderful for my kids .”

The boat isn’t quite worth sailing after being battered during the ordeal, but McDonald says the plan is to fix it in time to set sail for her wedding anniversary in July.

“I can honestly say I own a pirate ship,” he jokes, adding that the girls are looking forward to their first adventure.

“The kids are amazing and they were so happy to get in the boat. When we saw it my kids just wanted to put it in the water and start rowing.”


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