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Stormy weather grounds, destroys sailing yacht once slated to race in America's Cup

Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 21:40:59-05

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - This weekend's stormy weather grounded, then destroyed a 75-foot Russian-built racing boat once sent to San Diego to race in the America's Cup.

Around 7 a.m. Saturday, cellphone video show the large sailboat as it ran aground. Not long after, Lifeguard Captain Sean Casey says the waves went to work.

"Once it was aground, pretty quickly the mast broke off, and the boat literally broke into two pieces," said Casey.

Casey says the boat had been anchored more than two miles away, near the Zuniga Jetty in Point Loma.

"There were high winds and rough conditions out of Point Loma. Assuming the anchor line just broke," said Casey.

The boat was named Age Of Russia.

According to a 1992 Los Angeles Times story, it was built in Leningrad for six million rubles. Under current conversion rates, six million rubles is valued at about $80,000.

A Russian group of yachtmen sent the boat to San Diego in 1992 to compete in the America's Cup, but that group was never sanctioned by race officials to compete. Because the group couldn't afford to bring it back, the boat was slated to taken to be taken to the Miramar Landfill and flattened. But then a buyer came forward.

Casey says recently, it had been used for tours of the bay, before its final, unscheduled trip Saturday. Its frantic owner ended up at the beach.

"Obviously his reaction was sort of shock and dismay. He was very upset when he saw it on the beach," said Casey.

Casey says the boat was insured, which means the cleanup costs could be covered.

"The contractor will likely have to use heavy equipment, dump trucks, to break up the remaining pieces and take it to the landfill," said Casey.

Casey says there is an ongoing problem of boats without slips on the bay, being anchored in the Zuniga Jetty, and becoming loose during stormy weather. In 2019, the City Council amended San Diego’s Municipal Code to restrict open-water boat anchoring near Zuniga Jetty Shoal to two hours.