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Abandoned Boat or a Dream Lost?

It’s always unnerving when going for an evening stroll on the beach and discovering an abandoned sailboat. Is everyone OK? What led to this unfortunate beaching? It’s hard to know, but easy to worry about what might have happened. And also, what happens next?

Boat on beach
Another boat has washed up on shore this winter, but this time in West Marin.
© 2019 Andy Spiegel

Andy Spiegel and Katie Smith were out for a beach walk Saturday evening on Stinson Beach and came across the Pau Mua looking a bit worse for wear. The mast was off, rudder was missing, and the sails were scattered, though the cabin seemed to still have its contents aboard. There wasn’t much more to indicate what might have happened. We called the Coast Guard — now thankfully getting paid for their work — who said the boat had been reported beached, but had no further details. They are getting in touch with a commercial salvor who will head out to Stinson to figure out what to do with the boat.

With winter storms, king tides and other environmental stressors on boats and marine infrastructure, it’s the time of year in which a lot of weak links get shaken loose from their once-secure holdings. Now it’s up to some agency, this time the Coast Guard, to figure out what to do. We’ve written recently about the Richardson Bay debate and have a new story in the February issue — coming out Friday — about a boat in Corte Madera that was called marine debris by the authorities, but called fully founded and seaworthy by her owner.

Every situation is different and each can be as fickle as the winds we sail.

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Shorthanded Pursuit Race
This year's Three Bridge Fiasco, sailed on San Francisco Bay on Saturday, January 26, was nowhere near the Fiasco it could have been. For instance, during last year's race a raging ebb sucked most boats out the Gate, and only four entries out of 317 starters were able to finish.