Letter to the Editor: Kudos to the Mexican Navy

Byline: Cheryl and Ron Roberts

After spending seven fantastic months in Mexico (as far south as Zihuatanejo), it was time for us to do the “bash” (up the Pacific Coast) and head our boat, Lazy Days, back to our homeport of Long Beach.

Lazy Days is a 49-foot cockpit motoryacht DeFever trawler, which we had built in 1987. My husband and I travel with just the two of us — but due to some problems with arthritis in my neck, we decided that I really needed to fly home instead of “bashing.”             So, Ron picked up two local marineros from San Jose del Cabo to make the trip north — thinking that, with three guys aboard, they would make as few stops as possible on the way to Ensenada.

One unplanned stop occurred their second night out — at 12:30 a.m., 40 nautical miles south of Abreojos and 35 miles offshore — when they became tangled in approximately 500 feet of 1-plus-inch rope (similar to poly line), shutting down both engines. After determining that they were in no immediate danger and were not taking on water, they secured everything from moving and deployed our small inflatable skiff to use as a sea anchor.

They cut away as much line as they could, but they would have to wait until morning to dive down to clear the running gear and determine the extent of any damage. One of the crew suggested calling the Mexican navy to request a tow into Abreojos, where it would be easier and safer to dive on the boat.

The Armada de Mexico said they were one and a half hours from Lazy Days’ position and would proceed to meet them. After arriving, they decided it would be best to wait until daylight to assist, due to the high winds and seas, so everyone spent an extremely rolly night waiting for daylight.

At first light, the navy sent over a launch with crew, security personnel and a diver with scuba gear. The diver was a welcome and unexpected bonus. The diver spent a half hour to clear approximately 200 feet of line remaining on the running gear.

The captain of the navy ship had Ron start the engines to make sure they would be able to proceed on their own and wouldn’t need a tow. Everything seemed to be fine, so after completing the necessary paperwork, they were permitted to continue on their way to Abreojos.

When the navy left Lazy Days’ position, they were going to go look for the remaining line, which would still be floating. They thought that perhaps the line had fallen off a fishing boat, since it appeared that some of it was still coiled, and there was so much of it in one area.

We can’t say enough positive things about this experience with the Mexican navy. We have written a letter to the commander of the Armada de Mexico commending the captain and crew of vessel P126 for their help and professionalism during this incident. They were courteous and professional at all times and assisted in a timely manner. They offered far more assistance than we were requesting.

Thankfully, the remainder of the trip was uneventful. We have traveled over 53,000 miles on Lazy Days and this is the first major problem we have encountered (we once hit debris in Panama and bent a prop, but were only two minutes from a marina).

We are currently hauled out at Baja Naval, in Ensenada. We did sustain more damage than originally thought: Several blades on one prop were bent, the line cutters on the shafts were split in half and one line cutter had been pushed up into the strut. All in all, we sustained very little damage, considering the potential.

Cheryl and Ron Roberts
M/V Lazy Days
Long Beach

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