The Loss of the Pearson Vanguard ‘Volunteer’ in American Samoa
Reader Collin Ackerman, now the owner of a Cal 39 on the Bay, wrote to alert us to the egregious circumstances of the buyers of his former boat, the Pearson Vanguard Volunteer, which they lost to a reef in American Samoa. As Collin wrote, “I saw this story via Instagram from the man (Esteban Galvez) who bought my old boat ~5 years ago. He has sailed the 1967 Pearson Vanguard from Berkeley to (almost) American Samoa over the past several years and apparently was denied safe harbor at Pago Pago resulting in becoming shipwrecked on a nearby reef and losing the boat. I cannot verify the details but if what they say is true, it seems that the authorities made a mistake here and I’d like to spread the word as they apparently need help at this point.”
We have exchanged messages with Esteban, who has relayed their story and challenges with the authorities in American Samoa through their GoFundMe page. As described by Estaban, “This is the story of Volunteer, an American classic boat in the search for freedom. My brother Francisco Galvez and I decided to take on an adventure and sail from French Polynesia to American Samoa. The boat sailed great through many days of pretty bad weather but she finally brought us safely to the American Samoan harbor after 20 days offshore.
“As soon as we arrived at the port, our misfortune took place. The harbormaster did not grant us permission to tie to a safe dock or a quarantine buoy. He said he needed authorization from the governor’s office, so he ordered us to leave the port and drift outside until further notice. We drifted for nine hours; exhaustion started to kick in. We contacted the port control again and again and we told him that he was putting our lives in danger. When the night fell we were scared for our safety and the safety of our boat so we tried to seek shelter anyway. We sailed back into the harbor and we dropped anchor but the port captain sent out the marine patrol. They escorted us out to open waters. After that, we tried to escape from the current and the coral reef several times but eventually, out of diesel and energy, our minds fell under extreme fatigue. We drifted back and crashed against the coral reef.
“We took the VHF (the radio) and we cried for help, for assistance. We were so desperate. Then the police boat approached us commanding us to abandon the ship and to swim to shore for safety. We got badly injured by walking and swimming through coral and climbing the cliffs.
“Now the American Samoan authorities are making us responsible for everything and they are demanding us to clean up the mess. This could cost us about $20,000. We have lost everything we had. We have lost our beautiful Volunteer. We have no resources to respond to their claim. We are devastated. Please help us.”
We have already posted this to our Instagram page, where we quickly heard from Monday morning quarterbacks accusing them of poor seamanship. This strikes us as visiting your daughter in the hospital after a car accident where she fell asleep at the wheel and accusing her of poor driving. There are many woulda, shoulda’s in life and many unknowns around any misfortune, but we simply see some adventurous members of the West Coast sailing community asking for help. We have contacted the Port Authority in American Samoa to learn their view on this story.
If you would like to help here is their gofundme page.
New Zealand To Reopen Maritime Borders Ahead of Schedule
The South Pacific will once again become an expansive cruising destination. The New Zealand government announced last week that the country’s maritime border will “reopen to currently prohibited foreign flagged vessels including cruise ships, recreational craft, and specialist vessels” from July 31, 2022. In the announcement made on May 11, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinta Ardern, said, ““New Zealand is in demand and now fully open for business.” The move is expected to “increase the available pool of labour, while also speeding up our tourism recovery.”
The border reopening is set for 11:59 p.m. on July 31, and the news has been received with enthusiasm, as was demonstrated in the email we received from Sharron Beck at Whangarei Marina: “Finally we can receive yachts into New Zealand again soon …”
Whangarei Marina is one of several marinas and ports that have been upgraded ahead of the reopening. As reported in Sail-World last week, “New Zealand has spent the past two years expanding superyacht offerings across the country’s marine destinations.” Whangarei has an expanded superyacht refit facility; the Bay of Islands Marina has casual berthage for visiting cruising yachts and “a new 120-metre superyacht berth.” The city of Auckland has also received additional inner city berths.
As Pacific Puddle Jumpers and cruisers cast off for, and from, the South Pacific and head for popular destinations such as the Marquesas, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tonga and Fiji, they can soon turn south to continue on to New Zealand and enjoy the region’s spectacular sailing grounds.
Oakland Yacht Club Boat Auction
Oakland Yacht Club Boat Auction, Tuesday, May 24th.
Viewing: 10:00 a.m.
Live Auction: 11:00 a.m.
All sales are “as is” and “final.”
Cashier’s Check or Bank Checks only.
Seller must remove boat within three days of purchase.
- 1972 Challenger 32
- 1963 Trojan 33’
- 1962 Pearson 26’
- 1980 Tanzer 7.5
Delta Doo Dah 14 Kicks Off This Saturday
This weekend, Latitude 38 and Richmond Yacht Club will kick off the summer cruising season with a gathering and seminar aimed at helping cruisers enjoy a successful and fun Delta cruise. Delta Doo Dah 14 sailors will assemble at the yacht club in Point Richmond’s Brickyard Cove neighborhood on Saturday, May 21, from noon to 3 p.m.
Delta Cruising Seminar
Craig and Ann Perez of the Express 34 Marrakesh will present their excellent, informative and entertaining Delta Cruising Seminar. We’ll supply Delta booklets and handouts, and we’ll give away door prizes, one free entry per boat at our drawing. Must be present to win.
- Date: Saturday, May 21, 2022
- Time: Noon to 3 p.m. or so
- Address: 351 Brickyard Cove Rd., Richmond, CA
- Food and Drink: The RYC bar and galley open at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The club no longer accepts cash, so bring a credit card. We hope to have complimentary coffee and tea available when you arrive. You are welcome to bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, but please don’t bring outside booze.
- Parking: Visitors are welcome to park (for free) in the RYC parking lot. Watch out for kids, dogs, boats and trailers!
What About COVID?
After two years of meeting via Zoom for the Delta Doo Dah Kickoff, we’re stoked to be back in person this year at RYC, but please note these COVID protocols: RYC requires vaccinations inside their buildings; masks are optional.
The event is free to attend. To qualify to win door prizes, sign up for the Delta Doo Dah, if you haven’t already. That’s free too! Please register by 5 p.m. on Friday the 20th if you’re planning to come to the Kickoff.
S/V ‘Freedom Kirkland’ Location Reveal
How good is your knowledge of Mexico’s anchorages? Recently we shared the photo below of Kirk and Charlene (Char) Wagner’s Beneteau 393, Freedom Kirkland, anchored somewhere in Mexico. It’s time to see who had the correct answer.
Stuart Carlisle said Isla San Francisco. That was also Pat McIntosh’s first guess, but after considering the background geography he changed his mind. “I think from the hills in the background it is Punta Salina, a bit north of Amortajada Lagoon, but it has to be from the west shore of Isla San Jose.”
Puerto Los Gatos was Mike Reed’s response. While Sandy Edmonson and Alain each said Santo Domingo. Though in keeping with the idea of the ‘exact’ location, Alain added, “at the entrance to B Concepcion.”
Alain wins the “Where is Freedom Kirkland” contest. Well done! And well done also to Sandy for identifying the location – we just needed a little more information. Kirk and Char wrote that the photo was “taken from the Domingo anchorage at the entrance to Bahia Concepcion on the Baja.”
Thanks everyone for playing along!
Kirk and Char spend most of the year at their farm in Alberta, Canada, and store their boat in the Sea of Cortez until they can get back down for more cruising over the winter. One of their must-do stops is the SailFest in Zihuatanejo, in February. They share the boat with their cat, Sharpie, and in 14 years of cruising Pacific Mexico have stopped pretty much everywhere. “We have been down to Huatulco twice, and there are not many anchorages along the Mexican Pacific coast that we haven’t dropped an anchor in over the years.”
Bahia Concepcion is only one of the numerous beautiful stops you can make if you head south with the Baja Ha-Ha, and then continue cruising the Sea of Cortez. Ha-Ha registrations opened on May 11, and 72 sailboats are already signed up! Of course there are dozens of Californians on the list, but sailors are coming from all over the place, including Hawaii, Utah, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Alaska, and British Columbia. Who will be the “farthest from San Diego” Ha-Ha participants?
Learn How Your Actions Can Protect Our Bay, Ocean and Wildlife
Visit smchealth.org/boatoil for more boater information and resources. These tips are brought to you by San Mateo County Environmental Health Services (EHS). EHS works to ensure a safe and healthy environment in San Mateo County through education, regulation, and monitoring.