For about the last month, a sailboat has been anchored in the St. Croix River near the Boom Site Landing, just north of Stillwater. Recently, as the lower river has slowly covered itself in ice, the boat appeared to be locked in. It provoked a sense of deja vu for a lot of people, after seeing the same thing happen in the same place at the same time last year.
Mary Divine of the Pioneer Press has been on the story, talking to not only the sheriff’s office, but the owners of last year’s and this year’s frozen boats. I talked to Mary briefly about it for her first story this week:
“Greg Seitz, the founder of the St. Croix 360 website, has been tracking the boat’s progress for the past month or so. The May Township resident drives past the site a few times a week.
“It’s frozen in there now,” Seitz said. “It’s thin ice, so I don’t think you could get out to it in the first place to get it out — unless you have an icebreaker or something.”– There’s another sailboat frozen in the St. Croix River. Seriously. – Pioneer Press, Dec. 2, 2020
Mary was the first to confirm the boat was not owned by Mark Olson of Chisago City, who gained some fame as he went through a series of efforts to remove his new sailboat from the iced-over river in November 2019.
She reported the roundabout connection between the two incidents: the owner of the 2020 boat is Xander Finley, the same person that sold 2019’s boat to Olson. The boat was listed on Facebook and Craig’s List until recently, when the seller says someone agreed to buy it.
He made some cryptic comments to Mary about leaving the boat there all winter.
Finley said he checks on the boat every day and could remove it if he needed to.
But he said he would encourage anyone who buys the boat to keep it in the water.
“All I’m saying is anybody who does have the opportunity to buy this boat would be foolish to take it out of the water when there is such an adventure on the St. Croix and the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf of Mexico,” he said. “In fact, I’ve pondered bringing it down all the way to the Gulf.”
Finley, 49, said he plans to moor other sailboats out on the river throughout the winter.
“I am starting a trend,” he said. “My fleet of sailboats will eventually be out there.”Owner of icebound St. Croix River sailboat is revealed, and he’s not concerned. Plus, he sold it. – Pioneer Press, Dec. 3, 2020
Finley is legally allowed to leave the boat there, because its out of a navigation channel and has the required lighting. If ice cracked the hull and caused the boat to sink, he would have 30 days to salvage it before authorities do it, and charge him two to five times the cost.
On the morning of Friday, Dec. 4, St. Croix 360 correspondent Kate Seitz said there were people on the boat, possibly preparing to remove it from the river.