The sad news has just reached us that Edward Staples’ and Annette Alexander’s SoCal-based Island Packet sailboat Sandpiper caught fire and sank May 14, while crossing the Sea of Cortez en route to Mazatlan.
"Annette and I barely escaped with our lives," wrote Ed in an email to friends, "and had to swim/float for over an hour before being picked up by a fishing boat whose crew saw the smoke from 20 miles away."
Now safely back in Southern California, the couple explained, "We do have some burns and smoke inhalation issues, but these are being attended to."
We do not know the cause of the fire, but judging by the couple’s comments it obviously escalated very rapidly, as the couple did not have time to deploy their liferaft or gather essential gear. "We lost our phones, contact info and computers," explained Ed.
Needless to say, the incident shocked their many friends in the Mexico cruising community. We hope to learn more about this tragic incident, as there will undoubtedly be lessons learned that many Latitude readers can learn from. In the meantime, we wish Annette and Ed a speedy recovery, and we sincerely hope they’ll be back out on the water soon.