On the evening of July 2, San Francisco-based cruisers Seth and Elizabeth Hynes suffered a shock that most sailors only endure in nightmares. After dining ashore with their three young kids, they discovered that their five-year-old Outremer 51, Archer, was missing from the mooring field off the Bora Bora Yacht Club, as was the commercially administered mooring she was tied to.
The big red cat eventually slammed into two over-water bungalows at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa, where she incurred substantial damage before Seth and Elizabeth were able to kedge Archer away from the hotel structures, with help from several other cruisers. Winds that evening ranged from 20 to 35 knots according to Seth, with higher gusts reported by others — characteristic of the current “Maramu” season.
We are happy to report that no one was hurt during the incident, and that Archer was well insured.
This is the first mooring-failure incident we can recall happening in French Polynesia during the 23-year history of the Pacific Puddle Jump. But it is particularly troubling because recently enacted regulations now officially prohibit all anchoring in the Bora Bora lagoon, meaning that all visiting yachts are supposed to moor on commercial moorings. That mandate has been relaxed in some areas temporarily, however, as plans to replace or remove older moorings have not been completed.
According to Francis Hazlehurst, dockmaster of Bora Bora Mooring Service, the mooring that failed is one of a group of moorings that had not yet been upgraded since his company took over the administration of the Yacht Club’s mooring field in May. However, he says that 40-50 recently installed or refurbished moorings are available in the Bora Bora lagoon.
Meanwhile, Seth and Elizabeth have wasted no time in initiating repairs, no doubt acutely aware that the damage could have been much worse. Having cruised the South Pacific 10 years ago aboard the Lagoon 38 Honeymoon — yup, they were newlyweds at the time — they are among the more experienced voyagers in this year’s Pacific Puddle Jump fleet.
Our thoughts are with the Hynes family, and we wish them the best of luck in completing repairs to Archer.