Boat at center of custody battle

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SEPT. 30 — When an unemployed British builder found out that his estranged wife was attempting to sell the couple’s sailboat without his consent, the man decided to sink the boat instead.

Mark Bridgwood told police that on Friday night he rowed out to the boat, named Rebel, that was moored in Dartmouth Harbor in South Devon, England, news reports say. He then climbed aboard with an axe and smashed the sea cock and chopped holes in the hull, causing the boat to sink. Various reports described Rebel as 35 and 53 feet.

Mark Bridgwood reportedly read an advertisement in a local newspaper asking for about $70,000 for “a quick sale” of the boat, which is said to have been worth about $177,000. Rebel was equipped with a flat-screen television, a “state-of-the-art” navigation system, wooden decks and a washing machine.

“It was a beautiful boat and he sank it,” Tracey Bridgwood says in a news report. “What more can I say? I am really fed up with it all. There was an argument between us.”

Mark Bridgwood is said to have broken a number of the harbor’s by-laws and will be expected to pay the estimated $18,000 salvage fee.

— Jason Fell