30-foot long sailboat shipwrecked in Surf City

SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — If you’re in Surf City, it’s pretty difficult to miss. A 30-foot boat washed up on the beach, now with only a few days left to be removed.

Thornton Lee owns the Mickacain, a vessel he was sailing from Beaufort to Savannah for his 60th birthday. A storm Friday night made his milestone even more memorable.

“It slammed me down to the water,” Lee remembered. “It took me a good almost a minute to come back up to right up and my sails were torn, so the engine failed. I couldn’t keep it off from the power of the wind and the waves, so I deployed my anchor.”

King tides dragged the boat, now with it’s sails ripped, to shore Friday.

In all his time in Pender County, Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin has never seen anything like this. He says if the boat isn’t removed by Friday or Saturday, the town will have to step in.

“We’ve had a couple of small boats wash up before,” Medlin said. “And then we had one great big boat, but that was hundreds of years ago and it’s still there. If it stays there seven days, it’s considered abandoned.”

With time winding down and money in short supply, Lee set up a GoFundMe that’s earned just over a fourth of what he needs to get the boat fixed and towed. His best chance to float the Mickacain will be Saturday night, when the full moon brings in extra high tides.

“Hopefully we can float her right out into the water and put her upright, and I can get her towed to a safe yard,” Lee explained.

Using air bags, Lee will turn the boat sideways with men and women he met from the area four years ago, when he says he turned from alcoholism to prayer and sailing.

“I know he’s got me on the ride of a lifetime. This is just one more stop. I’ll still continue my journey.”

With any luck, Lee hopes to still take this dream birthday trip to Savannah.

“What else am I going to do? Give up on my dreams? Dreams come true baby, you just gotta chase them.”

Categories: Local, NC, News, Pender, Top Stories