Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Another pirate brought to justice

Lots of cruisers like to play pirate. At Halloween 90 percent of our marina dresses up like a pirate, and I would guess that at least half of the sailboats in the marina fly a pirate flag for fun. I'm no exception. One of my friends even made me a custom pirate flag as a boat warming gift when for the Seahorse a few years ago, and I flew it on many a weekend voyage.

But earlier this year we had a character show up in the marina who seemed a little too serious about the pirate thing. In fact, he referred to himself as Captain Skeleton, and he had created several facebook profiles and web sites about himself touting his skills as a modern day pirate. He supposedly had circumnavigated solo and fought other pirates by seizing or disabling their ships. He was currently making his living by paying back slip fees on vessels in marinas, putting a lien on the boat, and then selling them to unsuspecting buyers at around half of retail value.

He'd started hanging around Marina Del Sol in January and had sold two big motor boats and a Peterson 34 sail boat to residents of our marina.

They all supposedly came with titles. Being the investigative type, I stopped him to say hello and query him about the boat sales one afternoon. He gave me his story about how he seized boats with liens and helped marinas recover their money, then re-titled the boats and sold them. He even said he had a Tartan 33 he could have trucked down from Dallas for us for only $12,000 if we were serious about wanting a bigger boat. Something sounded fishy, so I emailed him the next day and said we weren't interested.

Well, this guy just rubbed everyone in the marina the wrong way. Soon there were postings on craiglist with photos of his truck warning people not to do business with him because he was a crook. Then in April, he disappeared. This is why ...

Yep, the long arm of the law finally got that pirate.