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Hula Farewell for Sailboat Grounded off Malibu

Earlier this week David Gorney got in touch with us about a sailboat that was grounded off Malibu, near the locality of Paradise Cove. David sent us some pictures of the boat and its AIS track on Marine Traffic.

Grounded sailboat
Aequus‘s track to Mailbu and upon its arrival can be seen clearly.
© 2021 David Gorney


But that was all he knew. Similarly, our subsequent efforts to learn more about the boat, its owners and crew, and how it ended up in the shallows turned up nix.

The insignia on the sail suggests the boat is a Hanse.
© 2021 David Gorney

But as luck would have it, yesterday we received the following story and accompanying photos from Wailani O’Herlihy, who had heard about the vessel on Sunday.

“On July 4, 2021, I got my car ready to join the Pt. Dume 4th of July parade, and overheard there was a boat that had gone aground in Pt. Dume. Suddenly sadness was felt in my na’au (gut), because I’ve been a sailor for 43 years with a history of sailing from Kaua’i to Redondo Beach, the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, and Tahiti. I tried to wrap my head around how this could happen, especially when someone texted me a photo of this gorgeous sailboat aground at the end of Zumirez in Malibu. I decided to pay homage to this boat that could have sailed the seven seas.”

Hopefully Aequus‘s crew all reached shore safely and in good shape.
© 2021 Wailani O'Herlihy


“As I drove to Paradise Cove yesterday, many thoughts went through my mind. Did the owner put out enough scope when he anchored the boat off the Cove for the 4th of July weekend? The reason I know the path the boat took is a friend from Anacapa Yacht Club showed me the path of the Aequus on the Yellow Brick app. Was the anchor big enough for the boat? Did the owner calculate the size of the waves this weekend? Was the boat left alone at night?

“After arriving at Paradise Cove yesterday morning, I walked out to the water’s edge and glanced around the corner to see the mast leaning over with a set of three spreaders. The tide was high, therefore I would have to navigate walking around rocks to get to the boat. I analyzed the waves and dashed across as the water receded. I made it to the beach and had it all to myself with the boat in front of me. There were a few paddle-boarders about 500 feet to the right. I put on my headphones and played Hawaiian music while saying farewell by dancing hula to this beautiful sailboat, Aequus. I stopped to research the Latin definition of this name and it meant kind, patient.

“Hula is a form of communication and storytelling, and I stood there by myself and poured my heart out to this magnificent vessel. A big ‘Aloha’ to a legacy that could have been; to the adventures it had in the past. God bless the people that were on board and that they were safe after such an ordeal.”

While it’s always devastating to see a beautiful sailboat grounded, it fills our hearts to know she received a beautiful tribute.
© 2021 Wailani O'Herlihy

“I received photos of the [vessel’s] ocean side from Sunday and Monday, in which the boat was trying to be towed off the sand bar but to no avail. It seems the boat would be left there to be tattered by the huge waves and to break up piece by piece to its demise in this sanctuary of the area we call Pt. Dume.

It’s not looking good for the grounded vessel from Santa Monica.
© 2021 Wailani O'Herlihy


“I send a big Aloha to this beautiful yacht called Aequus.”


  1. Peter K 3 years ago

    Bummer, that is an awesome boat. Hard to believe they can’t salvage it.

  2. Lon Bubeck 3 years ago

    I saw it today in The Boatyard in Marina del Rey. Entire port side of the boat was destroyed and the boat is a total loss. I don’t know the story but I’m certain of the ending.

  3. Gus van Driel 3 years ago

    I have anchored there overnight a number of times. No problem getting the anchor to hold but had a tough time raising it because there were loads of kelp on the chain that I had to cut off. The kelp may have helped to anchor to come loose.

    Looks to me like for that size boat they may have anchored too close to shore because when you
    go too close in the depth changes very abruptly.

    I am not concerned about their safety. It is a short swim to shore and the flow of the on-shore waves and water would help. They probably went for dinner at one of the restaurants that are located right there.

    Come to think of it, maybe they did just that and left the boat unattended before making sure the anchor did
    not drag. I don’t see a dinghy on or near the boat!

  4. Art Ewart 3 years ago

    Can’t pull it off? You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

  5. milly Biller 3 years ago

    I agree that it looks salvageable by a good, experienced company

  6. Chuck Boerner 3 years ago

    What about air bags like they do for overturned big rigs placed on the open water side and inflated could be towed to be righted

  7. Jack Skene 3 years ago

    I surfed my favorite, every day surf spot, “The Hut”, the beach just above the stranded vessel at 8am, July 4th.
    The owner of a small fishing boat, moored safely off the beach said the boat came in around 9pm the night of the 3rd. The skipper anchored the boat in water to shallow and didn’t let out enough lead rope and around 3am with the skipper still on board, it broke anchor and began washing up to the shallow reef. The skipper couldn’t start the boat quick enough to avoid catastrophe.
    The fisherman I spoke with thought the sailboat was leased.
    The surf was 6 feet plus and before long the boat cockpit was filled with water.
    On the 5th, an unsuccessful attempt at recovery was tried but from my judgment the boat trying to pull the boat free was to small.
    On Thursday at 8.45am the same boat was back, trying again but with no success. Later in the evening a second boat arrived at the scene and together they successfully pulled it off the reef.
    It was heartbreaking to see such a magnificent ship stranded on our rocky shoreline. Thank God they finally got it free.
    Jack Skene

  8. Monty 3 years ago

    Why not floats. Lot of money there, surround it with floats when the tide goes, of you have to, cut off part of the keel. Sounds like insurance wants to leave it where it lays, which is a shame.

  9. Gerald Sobel 3 years ago

    When I go out sailing up the coast from Mdr I see boats sailing upwind with their sails all a-flutter instead of sheeted in, and when they turn around to go back to Marina del Rey they are sheeted in instead of sheeted out, and the guests aboard these big fast, plumb-bowed state of the art craft can’t understand why I’m speeding past them in my lowly Cal 24 designed in 1958.

  10. Kent Fletcher 3 years ago

    I’d like to know why that mainsail was raised, if it was at anchor?

  11. Carl Bennett 3 years ago

    Did anyone try to kedge it upright so it floated when the tide came in? I don’t see any anchor lines to suggest that.

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