Rock On - Danika W42 on the rocks - Latitude 38

  • January 24, 2015 6:36 AM
    Message # 3209178
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Rock On!

    January 23, 2015 – Punta Mita, Mexico

    What can happen when a boat in motion hits a stationary object such as a pinnacle rock.

    Photo Latitude / Richard
    © 2015 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

    It gives you pause when a marine pilot hits a rock with his own boat. But that doesn't necessarily mean the collision was the pilot's fault.

    It was a couple of weeks ago that John Larsen, who is a Southeast Alaska Marine Pilot for cruise ships in Alaska, struck a pinnacle rock near Punta Mita, Mexico, with his Alaska-based Westsail 42 Danika. Whether there are rocks between the Tres Marietas and Punta Mita, and if so where the rocks are, has long been a matter of dispute and confusion. Thanks to Larsen, we at least now know there is a pinnacle rock that comes to within about five feet of the surface at 20° 45.843' N. Larsen puts this at approximately "80 degrees, .786 nm from the NW point north of the Punta Mita Light."

    This rock hasn't been accurately plotted on many charts and in some cruising guides. But Larsen informs us that Navionics says it's on the most recent version of their electronic charts. The pinnacle has been buoyed in the past, but the buoy had drifted off station. This can happen everywhere, but it seems to happen more often in Mexico than the States.

    How would your boat have fared had she struck the same rock at the same speed? 

    Photo Latitude / Richard
    © 2015 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

    Larsen's Westsail hit the rock bow on at close to seven knots, stopping her dead still, and creating the damage to the hull clearly seen in the accompanying photograph. Westsails have among the thickest fiberglass hulls of any brand sailboat, which helped. The hull of a less robustly built boat could have easily been breached. Danika didn't take on any water immediately, and Larsen was able to make it to the boatyard in La Cruz without incident. Once hauled out, it was discovered that there was some water in the boat.

    If you’re cruising Mexico, consider yourself warned.

    Larsen's boat is absolutely beautiful on the outside, and, we're told, on the inside, too. "I bought a hull and deck in 1974, which is 40 years ago," Larsen toldLatitude.

    "How long did it take you to finish her?" we asked.

    "I'm almost done," he replied.

    You gotta love a guy with a sense of humor.

    - latitude / richard

    As seen 2/23/15 lectronic Latitude 38

  • January 25, 2015 5:15 AM
    Reply # 3209551 on 3209178

    The entrance to La Ceiba Honduras has a seawall to the East made of refrigerator to automobile sized rock piled together.,+Honduras/@15.7959178,-86.7602784,1676m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x8f69007758cbbcd9:0xc8141bec642348c0

    The main channel is maybe 50-75 yds wide. The person with me had entered the channel before so I was relying on him to pilot our way in. He advised me the channel was to starboard, away from the rock seawall on our port side.

    When we were leaving (rock wall now to starboard) we met a shrimp boat entering the channel. My 'pilot' kept saying 'bear right... bear right'. I asked him about him telling me to stay away from the rock seawall. About that time we ran up hard on a submerged rock that had apparently fallen off the seawall.  I wasn't doing 7 knots but hard enough to make my W32 list about 30 deg. And man, I was stuck hard. No amount of reverse, kedging or hanging weight off the boom would get me free.  Finally a shrimp boat that was leaving towed me off the rock for a 6 pack of beer.

    When I got into clear water I dove the hull and there was just a 3-4' scrape through the bottom paint.  Westsails are TOUGH.

    Last modified: January 25, 2015 6:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • January 29, 2015 7:02 PM
    Reply # 3213538 on 3209178
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    (posted for James)

    this is whats left of a lightweight, fast, catamaran after being blown from its mooring onto the rocks.

    this is what happens to a heavyweight slow westsail after blowing on the rocks in the same storm about 150 yards away.

    the pictures were taken in 2008 february after a stormy night in airlie beach, australia.  i have been told that the westsail was repaired.

    james templeton

  • January 30, 2015 3:32 AM
    Reply # 3213934 on 3209178

    thanks jay for taking care of the pictures.

    i was berthed in a marina at airlie beach, australia in 2008 february about 500 yards away.  a strong northerly came up during the night.  the floating marina walkway structure was rockin' and rollin' like the wave machine we used to walk along at an amusement park.  i checked my westsail 28's mooring lines a couple of times during the night.  i dont recall the wind speed, but it was screaming.

    in the morning it became apparent that over 30 moored boats in the area had been either washed ashore or sunk.

    the westsail 32 had dragged her permanent mooring about 1000 yards, ending up in the rocks of a small breakwater.  there are usually about a hundred boats moored or anchored in this part of the bay. she probably damaged others on her way to the beach. the rudder was smashed and part of it was washed up along side.

    it took two of us about half an hour to get the 1/2 inch mooring chain untied from the sampson post.  the chain was bedded in deep, but the post held.

    the fiberglass hull flexed inwards a considerable distance destroying much of the interior carpentry work on the starboard side.  after being on the rocks for about 12 hours, the boat was lifted. the side popped back out leaving a considerable hole along the waterline and lots of scuffs on the keel.  

    i had met the owner a few weeks before.  i gave him a call, but he had already heard the news and was busy booking a plane ticket.

    i was a hobie cat racer and dealer for many years, so some friends have teased me for not buying a catamaran instead of a heavyweight cruiser.  when i show them the catamaran picture and then the westsail pictures, they understand.

    the catamaran was inaccessible to the crane, so it was lifted off the rocks a couple of days later by a flat bottomed barge with an a-frame lifting device. well..., the rigging looks pretty good.

    the catamaran and many other craft were stored in the parking lot until a backhoe fitted with a rock grabber crunched them up and dropped them into waiting skips for the trip to the dump.

    i have been told that the westsail was repaired, but i have been unable to verify this.

    westsails are tough

    james templeton

    ps.  when i arrived at my boat on the hardstand today, i found that "red sky," a boat abandoned in december and subject of an article in latitude 38 was sitting nextdoor.


    Last modified: February 01, 2015 3:28 AM | Anonymous member
  • January 31, 2015 11:47 PM
    Reply # 3215045 on 3209178
    Deleted user

     My friend Patrick and I had a real good look at the buoy and wave surge over the rock a few years ago. We noted it at, 20d. 45.7min. N, 105d. 33.2min. W.  The book  Mexico Boating Guide, 2006 edition, page 197 also shows a 3ft. tall rock close to that location.  I was told about these rocks and was told to leave them to port side when entering the bay. Oh, by the way Patrick, thanks for telling me that.


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