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Old 10-01-2015, 09:58   #31
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Re: What Is Your Most Memorable Mishap On A Boat?

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We were delivering a newly built 90' motor yacht from St Marteen to Miami. About 26 hours short of our destination, we experienced a hull fracture beneath our fuel tanks. The boat basically cracked at weak point. The winds had come up 35 knots from the west against the westerly setting current. This caused a very short, steep 15 foot sea to develop. We were located in the Old Bahama Channel, south of the Bahama Bank and north of Cayo Coco, Cuba. We were a Canadian registered vessel with all Canadian crew. We contacted the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. They contacted the Cuban government, and we were advised to limp in towards the Cuban coast as they were sending assistance. Well the help never materialized. We got to within 2 miles of the Coast when our last engine submerged. We dropped both our anchors in 100 feet of water at midnight. The yacht capsized underneath us at about 5 am. Thrown into the water we managed to board our tender, and head through the large and dangerous surf towards the only lights we could see. A Cuban resort called Sol Cayo Coco. My wife and I escaped with the clothes on our backs, our passports and the boat's papers, as our cabin was the first to flood. My 2 crew fared better and managed to grab most of their gear. On the beach we were met by armed military people. The interrogations started immediately. 3 hours after landing, while I was on the phone to the owner, we were arrested and taken to Havanna. We were accused of entering the country illegally. My crew was allowed to leave after a few days, my wife and I were held for about a month. While we were being held in Havanna, the Cuban govt salvaged the boat, stripped it, and then denied it. I have pictures of the salvage operation taken by a Canadian tourist staying at the resort.


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quite a story
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:25   #32
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Re: What Is Your Most Memorable Mishap On A Boat?

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We were delivering a newly built 90' motor yacht from St Marteen to Miami....
Wow sands....

We offer you a much warmer welcome here at CF... We hope you stay and share more!
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:30   #33
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Re: What Is Your Most Memorable Mishap On A Boat?

You can google Rob Aitchison shipwreck Cuba. The news story written while we were still "guests" of the Cuban government is still there.
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:52   #34
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Re: What Is Your Most Memorable Mishap On A Boat?

Back in the days of hanked on sails, I had just dropped the jenny and went forward to retrieve the halyard and secure it. As I walked from the mast to the bow I suddenly found myself laying in the forward berth looking up at the sky. My brother peeked in from above and I started laughing. When he knew I wasn't hurt, he joined in.

The forward hatch was huge, close to 4'x4'. It was open when I dropped the sail. I got a bump on my noggin but the picture in my mind of me vanishing from the deck and the jenny getting sucked down with me was so comical I couldn't help but laugh.
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Old 12-01-2015, 06:44   #35
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Re: What Is Your Most Memorable Mishap On A Boat?

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Originally Posted by sands View Post
We were delivering a newly built 90' motor yacht from St Marteen to Miami. About 26 hours short of our destination, we experienced a hull fracture beneath our fuel tanks. The boat basically cracked at weak point. The winds had come up 35 knots from the west against the westerly setting current. This caused a very short, steep 15 foot sea to develop. We were located in the Old Bahama Channel, south of the Bahama Bank and north of Cayo Coco, Cuba. We were a Canadian registered vessel with all Canadian crew. We contacted the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. They contacted the Cuban government, and we were advised to limp in towards the Cuban coast as they were sending assistance. Well the help never materialized. We got to within 2 miles of the Coast when our last engine submerged. We dropped both our anchors in 100 feet of water at midnight. The yacht capsized underneath us at about 5 am. Thrown into the water we managed to board our tender, and head through the large and dangerous surf towards the only lights we could see. A Cuban resort called Sol Cayo Coco. My wife and I escaped with the clothes on our backs, our passports and the boat's papers, as our cabin was the first to flood. My 2 crew fared better and managed to grab most of their gear. On the beach we were met by armed military people. The interrogations started immediately. 3 hours after landing, while I was on the phone to the owner, we were arrested and taken to Havanna. We were accused of entering the country illegally. My crew was allowed to leave after a few days, my wife and I were held for about a month. While we were being held in Havanna, the Cuban govt salvaged the boat, stripped it, and then denied it. I have pictures of the salvage operation taken by a Canadian tourist staying at the resort.

What? In the cruisers' paradise? Hard to believe (not really).
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