Monday, October 29, 2012

Seasilk Aground at Mag Bay

The following story was taken from Lat38.  First we want to acknowledge how thankful we are that the crew of Seasilk survived this ordeal.  Anyone can talk about and 2nd guess anything they want but the fact remains the captain kept his crew safe to sail for another day.

The reason I wanted to post this story is that it reminds me how much confidence we should have in our Hylas 46.  Sounds like the only damage Seasilk suffered was a bent rudder post.

Seasilk Aground at Mag Bay
October 26, 2012 – Baja California Sur
Other than rudder damage, Seasilk reportedly is in otherwise good shape. We wish her crew the best of luck in getting her refloated and cruising again.

Seasilk, the beautiful blue-hulled Hylas 46 owned by Craig Blasingame and Sue Steven of Coronado, was blown ashore at Mag Bay on the Pacific Coast of southern Baja on the morning of October 16 by the hurricane-force winds of Paul. This according to the boat's website, which explains last week's reports of an mystery boat having gone ashore in that area. 
The couple, veterans of the '10 Ha-Ha, had been enjoying "a fabulous cruise" down the west coast of Baja with crewmembers John and Montyne Connolly, and Brian Rogers, when they noticed via their weather monitoring thatPaul was headed in their direction. Thinking they couldn't make it to Cabo before the hurricane hit, and deciding not to try to run north of it, they hunkered down at the anchorage south of the Punta Cortes Naval Base on October 15. They report that cruising guides suggest it's a good spot in which to ride out a storm such as the one that was to hit the following day.
The strong winds began at about 6 a.m. on the 16th, during which time Seasilk was riding to two anchors and using the engine to reduce the strain on the hooks. "It was like riding a bucking bronco," reported Blasingame of the extremely rough and noisy conditions. At some point one of the anchor lines fouled in the prop, so they were down to just one anchor, and that wasn't going to cut it in hurricane-force winds. Blasingame had no choice but try to set a reefed main in a hurricane and tack away from what was apparently a lee shore. As one might expect, the desperation strategy didn't work for long, and soon the boat was aground. Shortly thereafter she heeled over at a 45-degree angle. 
A mayday was issued, and then at 11 a.m. Blasingame instructed the crew to abandon ship. It's not easy getting off a boat in hurricane-force winds, which create powerful currents. Fortunately, the entire crew made it ashore, albeit with some minor injuries. But talk about good luck, they got ashore on the grounds of a Mexican Naval Base, with the 34-man and one-woman contingent battened down a short distance away.
"The Mexican Navy has generously offered to host us for as long as it takes to get our boat off the beach," Blasingame wrote at the time. "We have been given two private rooms with baths in the infirmary, we are provided three hot meals a day in the ward room, and they have provided tools, ropes and support to prepare the boat. In addition, the Admiral has been in contact with both US consulates in Baja, and with his superior officers in the Navy. They have helped handle some paperwork as well, since we are not yet officially checked in through Immigration, which makes us illegal aliens in Mexico. Despite the fact that the Navy base sustained some damage as well, they have been so warm and generous."
Craig stayed with the boat until 5:30 p.m. to make sure she wasn't stripped by occupants of a nearby fishing village. At that time he was assured that the Navy would guard the boat. Blasingame had good news for the rest of the crew. Other than the rudder's having been broken, the boat appeared to be in good shape.