Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol officers responded at about 7:30 a.m. after a harbor resident reported seeing the 50-foot sailboat — known for its coastal cruises — adrift near the outermost area of the marina, said Officer Karl Halamicek.
The suspect was identified as Phillip Everett Conway, according Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood.
Halamicek said he found Conway on the vessel, and he admitted to untying the Double Dolphin from its dock and then drifting away.
Conway was charged with grand theft of a vessel and felony vandalism, and was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $500,000, Harwood said.
“The boat was pretty much in disarray,” Halamicek said, noting the lifeboats thrown across the deck and significant damage to the vessel’s interior.
Authorities notified the Double Dolphin’s owner, who came out to inspect damages — estimated at $1,000 to $3,000 — before taking the vessel back to its dock at the sailing center, Halamicek said.
The suspect didn’t offer a reason for untying the sailboat, and might have been suffering from a mental illness, Halamicek said.
He called the incident “odd” but couldn’t offer any more details as the investigation is ongoing.