The discovery of an empty sailboat, with shoes on the deck and ladder in the water, off the coast of Carlsbad launched a search that ended when the boat’s owner was found miles away on Catalina Island.
His sailboat was found near St. Malo Beach Sunday afternoon but Tom Quinn, the owner of the 35-foot sailboat named "Audacity" was nowhere near the vessel.
Oceanside Harbor Police boarded the boat at 2:43pm and found personal items, shoes on the deck and ladder in the water.
"Harbor Police began searching the immediate area, we launched a search with Coast Guard helicopters and lifeguards were looking up and down the coastline," said Lt. Josh Nelson of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Crews searched until dusk and kept calling contact numbers registered to the vessel.
Eventually, Catalina Police located Quinn in Avalon and he immediately contacted the Coast Guard.
"He explained that the sailboat broke loose from its moorings a couple days ago in strong winds and that he reported that it went adrift," Lt. Nelson said.
It appears that the boat drifted at sea until the ocean was shallow enough for the anchor to hit the sea floor.
The Coast Guard said it would do some fact checking on the man's story and were considering another search of the boat and surrounding waters to make sure no one was aboard the "Audacity" during its journey from Catalina Island.