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Thursday, September 27, 2018

September 27, 2018-Project Update

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Fresh Paint

Since our last project update we’ve been working hard on Wings. We had a long list of things to get done and by now many of them, all of the major ones, are completed or nearly so: inside the aft cabin repairs and repainting has been completed, the workshop and vanity areas have been repaired and repainted, the deck has been repaired, sanded, and repainted, the bow hatch has been completely refurbished, the toilet has been rebuilt and the toilet plumbing has been refurbished, the leaking water tank has been fixed, two new stanchion bases have been custom welded and the broken one was installed, four winches are refurbished and two additional secondary winches have been purchased (but not installed), and changes to the mainsheet system are completed.

Whew, it has been a bit of a drudge. Working on a boat in La Cruz in the summer is difficult. Humidity and heat wear you down if you are working outside, but we have persisted. We drink a lot of water.

A lot of work remains, lots of smaller projects, mostly ones we could delay if needed, but we’ll keep at it, and with where we are now, we know we’ll be sailing again soon.

Click here for more images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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September 20, 2018-The Wreck of Alarife

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Morning After

Is This The End of the Line for Alarife?

Over the radio came the words any skipper dreads to hear, “Alarife is dragging, Alarife is dragging!”

Pandemonium broke out in La Cruz. It was 9:30 PM and a wild squall had just rolled through the area.

There was a path of destruction in the anchorage and marina. And now one of the boats was dragging towards the shore.

The first we’d heard before that was sound of rain. That is a sound which we rather enjoy because that means that the rain catcher is beginning to do its job. Then we heard the splash of water dumping onto the deck which means the rain is too heavy or the wind is blowing.

Then our whole boat shook as a big wind gust hit us. That was the beginning of the wild squall.

Immediately it was really blowing hard and howling. I turned on the instruments and saw the wind was mid thirties and increasing. I opened the hatch saw that the canvas was holding but the ropes needed to be re-tied. I knew I’d get soaked but I went on deck anyway to re-secure the awning.

By the time I got back below deck the wind was 36.5 knots and chatter had started to fill the radio.

People in the anchorage were checking on each other and the reports were starting to sound scary. Big winds, big waves, down pouring rain, and a night black as hell; it was not a happy time to be in the La Cruz anchorage.

That was when we call came in about Alarife. It was Dee Dee on one of the other boats.

“Alarife has definitely moved towards the breakwater!”

We knew that the owner was not aboard and in the conditions nobody could set out in a dingy to try to save it.

Mike Danielson came on the radio, “Is Alarife still dragging? Or has the anchor reset?”

“Well, the bow is into the wind, so maybe the anchor is holding again, but we can’t see in the dark for sure, but it is definitely close to the rocks”

About that time it was clear that the squall was over. The wind was dropping; 14 knots.

It seemed like Alarife had stopped short of the rocks.

But it wasn’t over. Alarife had already landed on the breakwater and nobody knew it yet. The waves had already pounded a hole in it.

When I got up in the morning the news was all over the place. Alarife had been wrecked and sunk just off the breakwater.

It breaks my heart when a boat is lost this way. This is so needless. Owners should not leave their boats un-attended, especially in this anchorage. It has no protection and squalls and thunder storms can come in from any direction. The holding is not good there. We all knew that and we all knew that Alarife was at risk. Alarife has dragged several times before. We knew it was just a matter of time and we told Jorge that. Still, I am sad about it. We knew the boat well, it was a beautiful boat, and Jorge, the owner; we knew him well too. He’s a good guy. We have raced against Alarife many times.

Now Alarife is gone. I saw Jorge that next morning and he told me that he was going to re-float Alarife and repair it, but I doubted that he has the skills or resources to do that. I thought that we won’t see it sailing again, ever. I hope I was wrong.

Click here for more of this story, and photos.

Fredrick Roswold, SV Wings, La Cruz


This isn’t the first boat which has been lost here. It happens every year. Since we’ve been living in La Cruz there have been four or five boats wrecked here, most in similar circumstances. Even more boats have broken free and been rescued in time by other cruisers. I’ve been involved with those rescues on occasion. Interestingly these boats have all been owned by single men, most with meager resources, who left the boats at anchor because they couldn’t afford or didn’t want to keep it in the marina. In some cases the owners left the boats and returned to the United States, essentially abandoning the boats. Other just preferred to live ashore. I view this as irresponsibility and I’ve lobbied for the Port Captain to take a more pro-active role, but there is little interest getting involved on the part of any of the authorities. When there is no penalty for abandoning your boat or allowing it to become a wreck on the beach, and especially when you have little invested in it, people will continue to do this, and when the boat gets into trouble it becomes someone else’s responsibility to try to save it. That is really wrong.

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