Vancouver family elated after stolen homemade sailboat recovered by police

A Vancouver family that spent a year building a sailboat from scratch, only to have it stolen upon completion, says they are thankful for its recovery by police after onlookers reported seeing it being rowed on a local waterway.

Duncan McDonald — together with his wife, Julie, and two young daughters — spent more than a year building the sailboat from scratch. Christened by his daughters as “Salor Do That,” the boat’s maiden voyage was set for this Father’s Day weekend, off the waters of the Sunshine Coast.

But their plans were wrecked when the boat went missing early Friday morning, less than a day after they completed it.

In a Facebook post, the family says the boat —a 14-foot flat bottom skiff with a white base from bow to stern, and a blue sail on its mast — was stolen on its boat trailer near Fraser Street and King Edward Avenue, by their East Vancouver home.

The post was shared widely and local media also picked up on the story.

On Saturday, Julie McDonald said the Vancouver Police Department phoned her husband to say that it received multiple reports of the boat being rowed in False Creek, in downtown Vancouver.

She said the VPD’s marine unit recovered the boat and took it to the Canadian Coast Guard station in the city’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.

“It definitely had been on an adventure within the last 48 hours, but we’re really happy that it’s been retrieved,” Julie McDonald told CBC News late Saturday.

The boat is pictured at the Canadian Coast Guard station in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood after it was recovered by police. (Julie MacDonald)

VPD did not immediately respond to inquiries about who had the boat and if there is a criminal investigation into its disappearance and recovery.

McDonald said that the Salor Do That is damaged but can be repaired. The trailer was not recovered.

She said she and her family are grateful to everyone who saw the social media post or media stories and kept a lookout for the boat.

“It was an emotional project for us, and my first response was like, ‘Please see our boat, keep your eye out,’ but people responded like, ‘No, we’re getting this boat back,’ and they responded with almost as much emotion as we were feeling,” she said.

“And it got the boat back and I’m incredibly happy. It just adds to the story of this boat, so yeah we’re really happy.”

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