Sailboat battered by Sally near Tampa Bay washes ashore on beach in Panhandle

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A sailboat that was battered by Sally and had to be abandoned by the people aboard over the weekend near Tampa Bay wound up in Panama City Beach Wednesday night, according to the man who found the boat bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico.

8 On Your Side reported the rescue of four sailors aboard the boat “Yes Dear” earlier this week. The sailors radioed for help on Sunday as Tropical Storm Sally churned in the Gulf of Mexico and battered their sailboat.

Crew members aboard the COSCO Malaysia, a container ship en route from Mobile, Alabama to Port Tampa Bay, were 16 miles away. The captain said they swung into action to help.

They located the sailboat and brought the sailors to Tampa.

In a phone interview, the captain told 8 On Your Side “Yes Dear” had about an hour or two before it sank.

But a man in Panama City Beach, about 250 miles from the last location of the sailboat, said “Yes Dear” rolled ashore Wednesday night.

“My sister spots it and hollers to me,” said Chris Hill. “We got 8 (or) 10-foot waves. A boat shouldn’t be out there.”

Hill said he called the U.S. Coast Guard. He said he saw lights on and the sails were up “so I knew that someone had been underway.”

Hill went out to the boat and determined no one was on board. In a FaceTime interview with 8 On Your Side, Hill said the police showed up around 30 minutes later.

Hill later posted on Facebook explaining he found “Yes Dear.”

Meanwhile, a friend in Key West had posted an 8 On Your Side article about the rescue. Hill read it and said he called Davis Islands Yacht Club, where the boat is based. Shortly after that, the owner called Hill to say he would be up to the Panhandle to retrieve the boat.

“It’s amazing,” Hill said. “The boat’s actually in pretty good shape.”

Hill said he was glad to help and thankful no one was hurt.

“When you see a boat like that with all the electronics on, EPIRB deployed, sails ripped, the worst thing goes through your mind,” he said. “Material things can be replaced. Glad it turned out good. I’m just glad they’re safe.”

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