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Stories of Coast Guard Boardings in Florida and San Francisco

In response to recent stories in ‘Lectronic Latitude about Coast Guard boardings, Bay Area sailor James Fryer wrote in with a couple of stories of his own. James owns the modified Wylie 34 Cheyenne, which he frequently raced singlehanded in the Bay Area in the ’90s while sailing out of the Estuary. One of the boardings happened on the Estuary, and the other involved some white powder he was transporting from Guatemala to Florida many years ago.

James wrote, “Thus far Cheyenne has been boarded twice by the Coast Guard for safety inspections. Once was in 2008 along Alameda in the Estuary. We attracted the Coast Guard’s attention since I had just repainted the boat and not yet affixed the name, homeport or CF numbers. The boarding and inspection went smoothly and was friendly. But there was one little moment of drama.

“With Cheyenne motoring along with the autopilot engaged, I was below with the inspectors when my crew on deck suddenly yelled that I need to immediately get back out there. A few boat lengths directly ahead was a floating wood piling with a large, long rusty metal spike pointed directly at Cheyenne’s freshly-painted bow. Even the Coasties were wide-eyed at the damage that would have done. We quickly maneuvered around it and the Coast Guard RIB towed it out of the middle of the Estuary channel.”

Cheyenne Marina Village
Cheyenne was looking sweet when she was racing locally and tied up at Marina Village. She’s sailed many miles since this photo was taken.
© 2021 James Fryer

James went on to let us know his Cheyenne is still very active. Utilizing his professional background in marine sciences, he is researching and monitoring the efficacy of marine protected areas. His present plans are to focus more on remote areas in the Micronesia region, and he was en route and mid-ocean when the borders closed in March 2020. When James wrote to us, the borders remained closed, but he has since made his way to the Tuamotus.

Tahanea - SE Motu Anchorage
In August, James was waiting out the pandemic aboard Cheyenne in SE Motu Anchorage in Tahanea Atoll, Tuamotus.
© 2021 James Fryer

You can read the full account of the Florida boarding in the December issue here.

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