How did a sailboat get beached on Anna Maria Island? New sailor tells tale of ‘Lucky Us 2’
An amateur sailor started a 17-day voyage from Miami to Tarpon Springs, but an unexpected storm ended the adventure, causing damage to the boat and leaving it beached on Anna Maria Island in Holmes Beach.
The boat’s owner, James Gloembiewski of Michigan, is responsible for removing the sailboat, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation had given him until March 8 to do so, which has passed.
He’s in the process of having that deadline extended for another 30 days.
In the meantime, the $15,000 cost of having the boat removed is too much for Gloembiewski, so he started a GoFundMe campaign.
He told the Bradenton Herald on Wednesday about how his boat, “Lucky Us 2,” washed up on Anna Maria Island on Feb. 12 and the unusual adventure he and two friends endured.
Gloembiewski typically travels his C-5500 Kodiak shuttle bus to his home state of Florida for two months during the winter. He spends his time fishing and living out of the bus that he modified to fit a bed and luggage.
He said he makes the trips as a mental health break from the cold winters in Michigan and the demands of his tree-climbing business.
Ahead of his recent trip, he brought the “Lucky Us 2“ boat in Green Cove Springs and had the boat taken to Miami for him to set sail.
“I thought to myself, I’d like to get some property in Florida, so I thought about getting a boat; it’s like a house. I can live in the bus and on the boat,” he said.
Gloembiewski invested in “Lucky Us 2,” a 35-foot Young Sun yacht from 1981. He purchased it for $14,000 and paid an extra $14,000 to have repairs done.
However, he said the person he hired months ahead of his trip to move the boat to Miami and make repairs didn’t do the best job. So, he hired another person in Tarpon Springs.
A rough start
On Jan. 7, Gloembiewski and two friends started their trip from Miami to Tarpon Springs, where a friend of his would live and perform regular maintenance on the boat, but things quickly started to take a turn.
“There were a lot of crazy things that happened along the way,” Gloembiewski said. “We thought we’d go on an adventure, but as time went on, things started to sour.”
Gloembiewski said he learned to sail from reading and watching YouTube videos.
His friend had taken sailing lessons in Tampa for over a year, so the two were confident about the journey, though they knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“We went through the Keys and everything was beautiful. We had some rough nights,” Gloembiewski said.
“We had to learn about the crab traps. One night a crab trap got stuck on our anchor and we had a hell of a time pulling it up,” he said.
On Feb. 1, after traveling through the Florida Keys and the rough Everglades, their first real hiccup came once they reached Englewood.
“We had a prop shaft break,” he said which is connected to the boat’s transmission.
It took two separate welders to properly fix the shaft before the trio could continue to sail.
After they left, Gloembiewski said, “This is where the story began.”
An unexpected storm
On Feb. 10, before venturing onto Egmont Key in St. Petersburg, which was supposed to be their last stop before Tarpon Springs. They checked the weather and only saw a few light showers in the forecast.
They made it within 4 miles of Egmont Key when their sail ripped. The tear slowed the boat down significantly, turning their one-hour trip into a three-hour trip.
Not to mention that the light rain that they expected actually formed into a larger storm, which caught them by surprise.
“We decided to anchor the boat,” Gloembiewski said.
The trio tried to wait out the storm from inside the sailboat, but conditions got worse.
The dinghy on their boat had also popped and was hanging on by a single rope. Gloembiewski said he used a rope technique from tree climbing to secure it.
Eventually, they called the Coast Guard, which suggested a rescue before anything got worse.
They spent the night at one of the friend’s place in St. Petersburg, but this would not be the last leg of their journey.
“The next morning we got a call from the Coast Guard saying they’d been monitoring our boat and it had washed up on Holmes Beach,” Gloembiewski said.
Over the next three days, the trio removed contaminants from the boat, tidying it up so it wouldn’t look like an eyesore, and contacted necessary officials, including Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation as well as the city of Holmes Beach.
“We pulled all the fuel out of the tanks and cleaned up the inside of the boat and did some repairs,” he said.
Gloembiewski said that according to maritime law, because nature pushed his boat ashore, it would also have to be pushed back out into the water.
He’s enlisted the help of a local fisherman from Cortez, who will help pull the boat back into the water when the time is right.
“These past couple of weeks, we’ve put together a plan to pull the boat when the tide will be at its highest,” Gloembiewski said.
Sea Tow Sarasota quoted Gloembiewski $15,000 to remove the boat.
“If we had the money, the boat would be gone already,” he said.
“I bought the boat for $14,000 and put another $14,000 into it for repairs and preparation for the trip,” Gloembiewski said. “And then the vacation costing money and then not working all this time put us in a tough spot.”
He said it was suggested to him to start a GoFundMe, something he’s never done before.
The campaign, Help Unbeach “Lucky Us 2,” has raised $6,148 of its $15,000 goal.
Gloembiewsk said that if he reaches his goal and finds a cheaper alternative to removing the boat, he intends to donate the remainder to charity.