Coupeville port to raise, auction sunken sailboat

The Port of Coupeville’s Soul Mate turned out to be a big headache.

The Soul Mate, a 28-foot Lancer sailboat, sank in April in Penn Cove near the Coupeville Wharf. The port spent nearly $4,000 to raise the boat and officials are seeking to recoup the costs.

The expenditure includes the cost to raise the boat, labor associated with the vessel’s cleanup, and advertising its availability in newspapers.

But a special state fund will probably cover most of the costs.

The port will apply for money from the Washington State Department of Natural Resource’s Abandoned Boat Fund, which could pay back as much as 90 percent of the port’s cost for raising the boat.

The boat went down April 18 after it was abandoned by its owners. Attempts to locate the owners failed.

The port eventually became owners of the unclaimed boat and commissioners recently discussed ways to dispose of the sailboat, currently docked at the wharf.

Port commissioners thanked Central Whidbey resident Bob Becker, who loaned the port his inflatable air bags, which were crucial in raising the Soul Mate.

Port Executive Director Jim Patton said during a recent commissioners’ meeting there are several options available to get rid of the boat.

The port could pay a company to dispose of the vessel, auction it off or sell it.

After some discussion it was decided to pursue an auction.

Patton said the hull is in good shape but the mast disconnected from the Soul Mate’s cabin when it was raised and the rudder is bent and likely can’t be repaired.

There were a number of items salvaged from the boat, including a variety of sailing equipment, a stove top and binoculars.

There were also a large number of items which couldn’t be salvaged from the Soul Mate due to being under water for so long. These items included batteries, outboard motors, tools, clothing and food. Port officials disposed of the damaged items at the dump.

Details of the auction process have not yet been announced.

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