Sailboat on the rocks — abandoned 22-footer awaits spring thaw
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter February 6, 2014 9:56PM
A 22-foot abandoned sailboat frozen in the ice at Belmont Harbor sits alone, an oddity. Despite repeated attempts by harbor officials, its owner cannot be located. Photo by Mitch Dudek
If this were a Pixar movie, the little boat would free itself from the ice in Belmont Harbor and set out on a long journey to find the mariner who once loved it.
The little sailboat is the only vessel trapped in the ice in the entire harbor system. The boat, which has no name, was abandoned two years ago. Its owner owes about $2,500 in dock fees. He’s nowhere to be found. Harbor officials have repeatedly tried to contact him.
“Nothing short of bringing in a Coast Guard ice breaker would get the boat out of the water right now,” said Scott Stevenson, who runs the city’s harbor system.
When the ice melts, the boat will be impounded and auctioned off by the Chicago Park District. It has little value, Stevenson said.
The boat, a 22-foot Catalina, sits a few feet from the lakefront wall near the Belmont Harbor dog beach.
It’s drawn curious looks from joggers, bikers and — more recently — cross country skiers who notice the anomaly while traveling the lakefront path.
“It’s pretty unusual,” said Stevenson. “But it’s something that happens.”
“If [the abandoned boat] isn’t a safety hazard, we generally let them stay there,” said Tim Schweitzer, spokesman for Illinois Department of Natural Resources.