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Rescuer Of French America's Cup Boat Seeks Huge Cash Award

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - A Bay Area sailor is seeking thousands in award money after rescuing a drifting catamaran belonging to the French America's Cup World Series known as Energy, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Todd Tholke was hailed as a good Samaritan after spotting the vessel near Treasure Island and using his own ship to pull the catamaran to the Treasure Island Marina early on the morning of September 30th.

According to the Chronicle, the French team was so grateful that they offered to take Tholke on a ride around the bay, but the seemingly amicable parting took a turn when attorneys presented a warrant from U.S. District Court seeking to "arrest" the boat on Tholke's behalf, based on a law from the 1800s. Attorney's claimed in court that the sailor was due a salvage claim "in excess of $200,000."

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The French team said they were surprised by the claim and, according to the article, would likely have preferred to retrieve the boat themselves if Tholke had simply called them.

The issue now appears headed for a lengthy court battle.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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