Friday, January 10, 2014

A Sad Story

Boot Key Harbor

Westsail 32s are pretty rugged boats. Most of them built in the 1970s are still in use. Tarwathie's 40th birthday will be next year. If I can keep up with the maintenance, she'll last indefinitely. But they aren't invincible. Though my connections with the Westsail Owners Association, I hear about most incidents involving Westsails. Such was the case today. Here's an excerpt from The Tribune's article.

The sailor recently purchased the sailboat and departed from the Bay Area, headed for Morro Bay, using diesel engines for propulsion.

Guided only by his cell phone’s GPS through the dark, moonless night, the first-time sailor mistook Piedras Blancas Lighthouse for San Simeon Point and steered his craft eastward.

The sailboat narrowly missed the landmark large white rock at Piedras Blancas and ran aground on the rocky shore just north of the lighthouse. The jarring impact snapped the craft’s mast and disabled its radio at about 3 a.m. The mast struck a glancing blow on the sailor and jarred his cell phone out of his grasp. With the mast down, the marine radio was no longer functional.

Read more here:

The story continues to say that the owner will try to patch the hole (singular) in the hull, and refloat her on the next tide. I wish him well.

What can I say about this? First, and obviously, the inexperience of the sailor is the prime suspect for the cause. Second, rocky shores along oceans with large swells are far more hazardous than a muddy shoal. Third, a less worthy vessel would have probably been ground to dust in that incident. It took a mighty hit; note that the bowsprit is broken right off and the wire rope stay that holds the bowsprit is snapped. It appears that the stainless boomkin is also bent and broken and the wire stays holding it are gone. It takes big forces to do that.

Fourth, it is sad to see a worthy vessel die.


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