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Pirates Ain't What They Used To Be
By Frank Quirarte

If you’re going to steal a boat you might as well steal a big one. That must have been what was on the mind of three aspiring privateers when they heisted an 82-foot, $2.7 million-dollar sailboat earlier this week.

Another requisite for boat thievery: learn how to sail first. After springing said sailboat from the Sausalito Yacht Club, and apparently stocking the cabin with boxes of pizza and beer, the ill-fated joy ride came to an abrupt end in Pacifica, just north of Pedro Point. Perhaps feeling hunger pangs, they grounded the boat right in front of a beachfront Taco Bell.

Initially the Coastguard responded to a distress call from the “Darling” and dispatched a 47-foot lifeboat and rescue chopper. Somehow the boat robbers, two men in their late 50s and a woman, made it under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to the open ocean before calling for help and eventually running aground 15 miles south.

In a circus of the agencies, the Coastguard, Pacifica Police, San Francisco Police Marine Units, San Mateo County Sheriff’s personal watercraft teams and National Park Lifeguards all responded. Proving what kind of seafarers they are, the suspects were initially reluctant to get off because they didn’t want to get wet or cold.

All the while, the owner of the “Darling” remained blissfully ignorant of the goings on. It wasn’t until he saw his boat on the local news that he knew it was even missing.

And what if this merry, pizza-eating band of pirates had made it further south? Their plans remain as much of a mystery as their motives.