July 2019 – THEY SANK MY BOAT

THEY SANK MY BOAT

I had a dream… a dream to retire and live on my boat… as I slowly meandered along the coastlines, stopping here and there.

Then the super luxury Paradise Resort and Marina in Puerto Vallarta sank my boat.

In mid-December 2018 the marina decided to move my boat from one slip to another.  They have done this before when they want to do maintenance work on the docks.  But for reasons only known to the crew that moved my boat, they went inside the boat and opened its overhead hatches.

And forgot to close them again.

Then it rained heavily for days and my boat filled with water inside up to their knees.

Suddenly I got a frantic call from the marina that the dock crew were pumping out my boat.  I immediately thought a thru-hull had gone, but then they admitted that they had opened the hatches and not closed them again.  And the rain did the rest.

My engine was underwater.  My electrics were submerged.   With Motor and Electrics gone…. my boat was effectively destroyed.

I called the mechanic that worked on my boat in Mexico and asked him to take a look at FASTALLEY and report the damage.

 

SHE’S A SURFER

FASTALLEY is a very lightweight boat.  She is built light, and she sails light and steady.  She never veers off course or rounds up – even if you let go of the wheel for an extended time.  She is as stable as any platform.   She is a fabulous surfer and skips along downwind.

On my way to Mexico I was caught in the waves of Hurricane Vince and FASTALLEY just surfed along blithely.  During the storm I threw a bunch of tissue paper overboard and one piece stuck on the side about 2 foot above the waterline.  I couldn’t reach it under the solar panels, and as I looked out at those roaring waves I thought… No problem, that tissue will get swept away.   But it didn’t.  Throughout those days of terrifying waves, that tissue paper just fluttered there.  None of those waves got 2 foot up the sides to wash it off.

My beautiful boat is built light and bouyant, and rides the waves like a cork.  FASTALLEY is a cork!

 

FASTALLEY IS DESTROYED

The mechanic onsite reported that, as I feared, the engine and the electrics had suffered extreme water damage and would need extensive repairs in order to restore the boat.

He said the boat had continued to take on water after the dock crew had pumped it out, and he couldn’t figure out where the water was coming in.

I have 2 thru hulls – one for the watermaker, and one for the engine cooling.  Ed checked both thru hulls but they appeared intact.  After days of trying to hunt down the leak, he suggested that the move must have caused damage somewhere below the waterline and I should pull the boat out.

I got a quote for $600 to tow the boat from the marina to the boatyard.  Then the boat yard gave me a price tag of $1800 just to use the crane to pull the boat out the water.  Then the boat yard would start racking up the charges for each day of stay.

Since I didn’t know what the damage was, or where it was, I was looking at a large boatyard bill for damage the marina had done!

 

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE

The mechanic also said that there was structural damage to the hull.  FASTALLEY has never had tons of water inside her so I imagine the weight of half filling the middle hull would depress that hull more than the two outer hulls / amas.

Ed said the damage looked to be about $30,000 and that was on the low side.  He thought restoration was closer to $50,000.

 

MARINA IS REFUSING MY CLAIM

I then contacted the boat yard and asked for their insurance policy so that I could put in a claim.

The marina has so far refused to give me their insurance details saying they are not responsible for the damage to my boat.

Nor do they intend to restore the boat to the condition it was BEFORE they moved it, and before they decided to open all the hatches.  And they cc’ed their lawyers in their response to me.

 

I’M JUST THE LITTLE GUY

I called my bank who holds the loan on my boat, and they said I should find an international maritime lawyer because the boat was in Mexico.

That is easier said than done.

I went back to the maritime lawyers that I used when I first bought the boat in Mexico and brought it into the USA.  Turns out that lawyer is buddies with Dick, the manager at the marina, and wasn’t interested in my little problem.  Perhaps if my boat was worth $2 million plus, he would have been more interested.

I then searched for lawyers in Mexico but again, my boat is too small and the fight is too big, to interest anyone.

And the bank keeps ringing me every few days demanding repayment of my (sunken) boat loan.

One would think that since the marina will not restore my boat – they would at least let me claim on their insurance.  But no.  They know I’m the little guy and will lose whichever way I turn.

So here I sit… with a destroyed dream, a sunken boat, and no lawyer/knight in shining armor.

 

I am open to any good idea.  juliabrown2605@gmail.com

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