December 19, 2014

Double Dose of Bad Luck

The beautiful Moody 54 Red Sky washed ashore on the east coast of Australia this week, but plans are coming together to refloat and repair her.   

© 2014 Jamie Brown / Northern Star

We’re sorry to report that the lovely Moody 54 Red Sky, a veteran of both the Baja Ha-Ha and Pacific Puddle Jump rallies, was abandoned at sea off eastern Australia early December 13 while taking on more water than her pumps could manage. At roughly 3 a.m. she had hit a submerged object while en route from Gold Coast to Sydney. Despite heavy sea conditions, her four-person crew was rescued without injury by the 600-ft tanker British Loyalty. Red Sky was left to sink, but she drifted 14 miles west and washed up on a beach near Evans Head, Australia, where she was stripped of much of her equipment and the crew’s personal gear.

In a post Monday, former owner John Hembrow wrote, "Mike [Cramb], the owner, tells me that they believe they became entangled in a wayward FAD (Fish Attracting Device) that had come adrift during the rough weather. Not sure where the water was coming in, but it looks like the rudder was torn away and it is likely this was the source of the leak. They also had no steering as a result." The grounding was doubly sad, as Cramb had spent "tens of thousands rectifying the damage caused by the lightning strike last year," according to Hembrow, "and this was his first voyage on Red Sky after completing the repairs."

In addition to contending with big seas and 30 knots of wind, rising water made Red Sky’s engine quit while owner Mike Cramb was trying to bring her alongside the UK-flagged tanker British Loyalty. Cramb, his wife and two additional crew all got off safely.

© 2014 AusRCC

Many veterans of the 2010 Ha-Ha and 2012 Puddle Jump will likely remember John and Leanne Hembrow for their upbeat attitudes and tireless enthusiasm for the cruising life. They bought Red Sky in California shortly before the Ha-Ha, and she was one of the prettiest boats in the fleet. Having sold her to Mike Cramb a couple of years ago, they now live in Nadi, Fiji.

Seen here, John, Leanne and a friend breeze into Moorea’s majestic Opunohu Bay during the 2012 Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Gonzalo’s Nautical Scars Remain

A medium-sized cat ended up on the beach next to the dinghy dock next to the commercial port at St. Barth and just down from the St. Barth YC. Bartians are usually very quick to clean up after hurricane damage, so we’re surprised that the cat is still there. Apparently major parts of at least three other boats remain on the beaches of the chic island.

© 2014 Greg Dorland

It’s been two and a half months since Hurricane Gonzalo surprised residents and boat owners at St. Martin and St. Barth with Category 2 hurricane-force winds. The storm had been expected to hit the British Virgin Islands instead, which is why Latitude’s ’ti Profligate and many other boats in the Virgins had been rushed to hurricane holes. But Gonzalo curved at the last minute and the BVIs got nothing. Little St. Barth lost 42 boats, while St. Martin lost a slightly smaller number.

Another view of the stranded cat, which, based on the photo, doesn’t look too badly damaged.

© 2014 Greg Dorland

Greg Dorland of the Lake Tahoe-based Catana 52 Escapade reports that recreational and commercial vessels that were victims of the storm still scar some of the island beaches. It’s scenes like the ones in these photos that make waterfront home owners on the windward side of Belvedere worry about winter storms hitting Richardson Bay. There’s something counter-intuitively romantic about shipwrecks — as long as they don’t involve you or your loved ones. But that’s certainly not the case for home and business owners who are negatively impacted for months — if not years — to come.

While some Christmas vacation guests at this Marigot Beach hotel in St. Martin might initially be fascinated by the view of two boats wrecked just outside their windows, we imagine the fascination would quickly fade. 

© 2014 Greg Dorland
The cruising season officially opened on Banderas Bay on Friday, December 12, with the grand reception by Riviera Nayarit Tourism for cruisers at the chic Eva Mandarina beachfront restaurant and bar in La Cruz.
One of the best things about the coming of the new year is that it symbolizes a new beginning, and thus inspires us to assess our priorities and set personal goals for the coming months.