Sailboat owner says series of unfortunate events led to stranding on Jacksonville Beach

It’s something that’s rarely seen on Jacksonville Beach: a large, shipwrecked sailboat stuck in the sand.

The spectacle over the past 24 hours has had beachgoers and even the owner of the boat thinking about the television show “Gilligan’s Island.”

Luke Rehberg, the owner of the sailboat, told News4JAX on Tuesday he lives on the vessel and suffered a series of mishaps that led to it running aground.

Rehberg said the boat had been floating off the coast so he could watch the air and sea show this past weekend. But the anchor broke, the engine failed and the waves pushed the craft into the beach.

“Engine failure. After the engine failure, I anchored out and it broke. I lost the anchor and the entire setup for that and slowly drifted into the beach here,” he said.

Rehberg said he’s sailed boats most of his life and this is the first time he’s been in this kind of situation, a situation that he can now look back and joke about. He even called himself “Gillian” out on a “three-day tour.”

“It’s a beautiful boat and I hate to see it stranded like that,” said Timothy, who was visiting from Boston.

“Not a sight we would normally see here,” said Jax Beach resident Lisa Maurer. “Not at all. It’s sad but beautiful at the same time.”

A higher tide may help the boat break free from the sand, but there’s a possibility that could make things worse.

Even if this sailboat breaks free, the owner fears the craft could take on water because of damage to the rear of the boat.

“With the rudder and driveshaft being pulled out, all those seals will be broken, so I have to be prepared to take on water fast,” Rehberg said.

If that happens the boat could begin to sink, and his home could end up submerged in the ocean.

Rehberg estimates damages to the boat to be somewhere around $10,000. He also estimates the cost to have the boat removed to be about $10,000.

So basically, a fun weekend out at sea has turned into an unexpected and costly situation.

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