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Stolen luxury yacht is stuck on reef off Hawaii isle park

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KAILUA-KONA » A salvage crew is working to remove a yacht that was stolen and run aground on a reef outside Kaloko-Hono­ko­hau National Historical Park on Hawaii island.

The 47-foot yacht, The Corsaire, has a market value of nearly $500,000, boat owner Laura Mascari said.

The boat was stolen Sunday from Hono­ko­hau Small Boat Harbor in Kailua-Kona, West Hawaii Today reported. A Big Island man, Richard Sherwood, has been charged with felony theft in the case.

Prosecutors say Sherwood boarded The Corsaire with his guitar and luggage, broke into the vessel and asked a fisherman to help him move it out of a slip. He maneuvered north out of the harbor and made it about three miles to the reef.

Sherwood appeared at a preliminary hearing Wednesday and was bound over for arraignment in Circuit Court, said Deputy Prosecutor Kaua Jackson.

Officials of Kaloko-Hono­ko­hau National Historical Park received a report on the grounded vessel just offshore of Aima­kapa Fishpond early Sunday.

Five park employees from different divisions worked together to aid the vessel, said park ranger Jody Lawless.

The incident is under investigation by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ed Underwood, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation administrator, said the stolen boat was insured but deemed a total loss.

A salvage crew Wednesday removed fuel from the yacht.

Mascari said she and her husband, Leonard, were devastated by the incident.

"The Corsaire is our dream boat, and it is irreplaceable," she said.

They have owned the yacht since 1980 and used it for their luxury sailing charter business. They sailed it four years ago from Newport Beach, Calif., to Kona.

The man rescued had no sailing experience and knew nothing about the yacht, she said. The boat might be dismantled and taken out to sea to disintegrate if it cannot be brought to dry dock, she said.

"Our heart sinks seeing our boat still out there and knowing its fate," Mascari said. "It’s not just a material item, but memories for our family. It’s just too much to comprehend. The Corsaire does not deserve this tragic end."

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