REDWOOD CITY -- A Wyoming man on Thursday was deemed mentally competent to stand trial on charges he stole a luxury yacht from a Sausalito harbor, then crashed it onto a Pacifica beach in March.

The defense concedes that Leslie Alan Gardner, 62, of Gillette, is legally well enough to defend himself, but says he remains delusional.

"He truly believed it was his boat," defense attorney John May said. "I'm trying to get him appropriate mental health help."

Gardner has been behind bars since he and an Aptos couple washed ashore at Linda Mar Beach early March 4 on the 82-foot Darling. Authorities first thought the boat was stranded, but they learned it was stolen after the owner spotted his yacht on the TV news. Gardner and the couple surrendered to police.

The charges against Gardner had been on hold while three doctors measured his mental health. But San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Jonathan Karesh allowed the case to resume Thursday after ruling Gardner competent based on the doctors' reports, chief deputy district attorney Karen Guidotti said.

The couple asserted that Gardner told them it was his boat, and they were later set free without charges. Prosecutors couldn't prove they knew the yacht was stolen. After getting out of jail, the couple said they met Gardner a few days before the bizarre boat ride in Santa Cruz and were invited aboard.

Gardner remains in San Mateo County jail in lieu of $1.01 million bail. At last word, the Darling, valued at more than $2.7 million, had been sent to England to repair its severely damaged keel, May said.

Police said that Gardner and the couple boarded the boat with pizza and beer, then set out from Sausalito Yacht Harbor. The boat sailed through the Golden Gate, but after a few strange maneuvers inexplicably bore directly down on the beach.

May said he has documents proving his client was discharged from the Marines with post-traumatic stress disorder after fighting in Vietnam from 1968-70. Since the war, he's led a "knock-around life," May said.

"The man needs help, not serious punishment," he added.

Gardner is due back in court June 27.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.