Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How NOT to Boat in Mexico

We were over on another boat visiting this afternoon. We noticed a sailboat under motor come out of the marina and the engine was making a very odd noise and there was smoke pouring out of the exhaust. We yelled at the guy and told him "No agua" because we couldn't see any exhaust water coming out of the back of the boat. There were about 6 people on board, they had a big video camera on a tripod on the foredeck and there were 5 of them at the front and one guy at the back steering. The main was covered and there was no foresail attached. Okay, so we had done our bit and yelled at them but we were basically ignored.
We continued to chat to Phil on his boat and then about a half hour later we noticed the boat with the main up sailing very close to the beach to the east of us. This was not good, there was a decent wind out there and a pretty good surf running. And then OH Sh....! the boat is on the beach. We all got in our dinghy and went over to see if we could help. By the time we got there the boat was being tossed by the waves on the beach. It was a lovely looking sailboat, about 27 feet long with a big full keel and it was hung up on the sand. Every time a wave would come in the boat, which was sideways to the waves would get rocked over from one side to the other and the water would pour out of the bilge pump. There were 4 sets of cruisers there with their dinghies all seeing if we could do anything. We got a line attached and a bunch of guys got in the water and we all tried to haul the boat off the sand, NO LUCK.
Then a sport fishing boat came along and Barry and I helped take a line from the shore that someone had swum out with and we motored it to the sport fisher. (Keep in mind the surf is rolling in all the time and we had to very careful not to get the dinghy too close to shore or we would be tossed in, hook, line and motor.) The line was attached and everyone stood back and the big power boat took up the slack and pulled, twice the line broke and then he gave up and left. He didn't even budge the boat it was well and truly stuck in the sand.
A harbour patrol boat showed up shortly after and again guys from shore swam out to get lines that dinghy people had taken from the patrol boat and attached them to the battered sailboat. Line were attached, they were pulled taught and we thought she was going to come off the sand. She spun around and was facing into the waves but no go, the lines snapped twice more. We got the lines back to the patrol boat and the fellow said "Tiene mas". Which we took to mean they were going to go get a something bigger, we weren't sure if he just was getting a bigger line or a bigger boat. Well, he came back with both, now this boat had some POWER. They also had 2 and 1/2 inch floating line to attach to the sailboat. While they had been gone to switch boats our new friend Phil had helped the shore bunch to put a big bridle around the sailboat. They got hold of a huge line and fed it through the front cleats and led it to the winches in the cockpit, they managed to have one go in each side so there was something solid to pull on.
Meanwhile poor old Los Amigos (the boat) had turned sideways to the surf again and was being bashed. Her mainsail had been left on and it had fallen over the side and was in the water, alternately being filled with sand and water and then the water would gush out of it when she rolled on her other side. It was not a pretty thing to watch. The fellow in a dinghy beside us said that it would be the rigging that would be taking a real pounding.
Anyways, when the MAS Harbour Patrol boat started pulling, Los Amigos slowly slewed sideways nose into the waves, every new wave we would think this is the one she will float on. It took about 3 minutes of steady pulling and she finally was afloat, hurray. They tied her up to the patrol boat and took her back to her slip. It was quite a stimulating way to spend an afternoon and a good lesson on the dangers of a lee shore. Nice that we could in our small way be of some help.