A maiden voyage is typically a memorable event. But four Bay Area residents will certainly never forget their first sail aboard Elenaki, their fiberglass-hulled Folkboat which sank off Sausalito yesterday. Boat partners Jim McKee and Markos Kounalakis with his five- and six-year-old boys set out from Sausalito Yacht Harbor after christening Elenaki, when at about 12:30 p.m. they noticed the boat’s freeboard diminishing.
"We did not have a lot of reaction time," Kounalakis said. "As I went down to grab the radio, the interior was already full of water — the boat sank within 30 seconds."
A passing good samaritan heard Elenaki‘s mayday and picked the four out of the water in what Kounalakis said was about a minute and a half. "The man and his wife pulled it off with great alacrity," he said. "By the time we were aboard, the Coast Guard had already been called and showed up within five minutes." Once aboard they were treated to blankets and towels. Kounalakis told us he’d first learned to sail while a graduate student in Sweden in 1980 — fittingly on a Folkboat, albeit a wooden one. He said that on Sunday they’d made sure all the seacocks were closed prior to departing the dock. He couldn’t be sure of the source of the leak, but suspected it was in the outboard-motor well — which housed a brand new outboard no less. Currently he’s working on salvaging the boat, which is sitting on her keel with sails still up and showing, just inside the Richardson Bay Channel entrance dolphin.
As for Kounalakis, who’s published Washington Monthly Magazine for the last seven years, and has a nationally-syndicated weekly radio show on XM station POTUS ’08, he doesn’t sound discouraged by Sunday’s adventure. "This is not the bookend," he said. "There is more to come and more adventures to be had — and we want all of them to be above waterline."