Sorry to be late to the party but this is fascinating. I am glad you got your stuff back.
Couple of more questions - Kayaks tied to dinghy, dinghy cleated off. You have a 42 foot boat
- Is this a water
level stern cleat or is it a bulwark level stern quarter cleat?
- If a stern quarter cleat how high above water
level is it - i.e. would a paddler have to stand in his boat
to untie the knot
? (determined prankster in this case)
- Or would he have to board your boat to untie it? (crazy prankster)
- How far from the anchorage to the location the stuff was found?
- Is the location downwind and/or downcurrent?
So I don't buy "outright theft" because you wouldn't have gotten your stuff back - i.e. the thief had gotten away with the goods. All he had to do was move the gear
ashore and wait for you to go home and then sell the gear/whatever. But also, why would a thief untie the knot
- cut the painter is way faster for a thief.
Prank theory -
We presume the thief was in a human powered craft. To pull this off in a motorized boat of some kind would be plain lunacy - the risk of being heard is way too high.
If the prank was to take your stuff - hide it for a day and then bring it back - it is the stupidest prank in the history
of pranks. Prankster would have to tow your stuff while paddling - find a place nearby (unless he wanted to tow it a long way) to hide it. And then go back the next night, presumably after you reported it stolen and are on high alert with the police on the lookout.
A prank would have been to tow it to the dock
and tie it off - that way you would be perplexed, maybe file a police report and then find your gear
at the dock. You would now second guess yourself on did you swim back to your boat last night - how did this happen - ha., ha. Still a stupid prank but it makes more sense as a prank than to try and go back to your boat the next night.
Occam's razor - Stupidest prankster in the history
of pranksters or the line came loose?