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Mexican Navy Aids Beached Singlehander

The 34-ft sloop Waltzing Matilda was lost on the rocks at Punta Camarones, Mantanchen Bay, San Blas, yesterday morning in relatively calm conditions, report several cruisers on the scene.

Waltzing Matilda on the beach at Punta Camarones.

Younger Girl
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"At about 6:30 a.m., while anchored at Mantanchen Bay, my partner Debbie Hayward awoke me with the news that someone was calling for help on the VHF," reports Marco Sciarretta of the San Diego-based Lagoon 380 Younger Girl. "We found that it was a Kiwi singlehander on his sloop who had gone aground at Punta Camarones. Although often the scene of great surfing, there was very little swell at the time, but the boat kept getting pushed further on the rocks. The skipper reported that he’d lost his steering and drive shaft by the time I got there. I offered assistance with my dinghy, but he insisted on staying aboard as long as possible."

"When Norm Goldie came on frequency for his regular morning net, he learned of the situation and contacted the Mexican Navy," reports Katie and Phil Habegger of the Marina del Rey-based Catalina 42 Avalon, continuing the story. "By then Waltzing Matilda was taking on water fast and Norm advised the skipper to put on a life vest and abandon ship. We were anchored in Mantanchen Bay, so we hurriedly raised anchor and motored around Punta Camarones to see if we could render assistance. We spotted Waltzing Matilda on the rocks, and were relieved to see a dinghy and a man on the beach, and no one in the water."

A Mexican Navy vessel arrived on the scene a few minutes after Avalon, and attempted to pull the boat off the reef. It’s unclear if the boat was pulled free, but it seems not.

"Norm Goldie later got back to me on the VHF and told me the shipwrecked sailor was destitute and in need of assistance," says Sciarretta. "But Norm was emphatic that he personally couldn’t get further involved without somehow jeopardizing his official relations with both the U.S. Consulate and the Mexican government. I later bumped into the shipwrecked Kiwi as I was leaving the office of the Singlar Marina in San Blas. He was with some official and asked if I had a Citibank credit card, which I didn’t. He then entered the Harbormaster’s Office, and that’s the last we know of it, having continued on down the coast."

Mark Sciarretta is something of an expert on boats aground, having put his Younger Girl on the sand during the Ha-Ha beach party in Turtle Bay.

© Fin Bevin

(We can’t help but wonder if the skipper of the lost boat is Aussie rather than Kiwi, as the notion of a Kiwi naming his boat after the unofficial Australian National Anthem is a little hard to believe.)

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If it’s been awhile since you’ve checked on your boat’s mooring lines, your lunch break would be an excellent time to do it.
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