GOLD EAGLE – The Rest of the Story

Are you planning to spend some time in the Sea of Cortez? What you’re about to learn is not to frighten you, but to enlighten you. I believe you won’t find this information in the online magazines such as, ‘Lectronic Latitude 38.

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(Click Image to Enlarge) GOLD EAGLE IN Santa Rosalia Harbor AFTER Hurricane Odile on Sept 15-16, 2014 After Hurricane Odile swept across Baja California (on Sept 15-16, 2014), you might be concerned about the condition of some anchorages and marinas. Some of the devastation to marinas and anchorages located closer to populated areas, such as La Paz and Puerto Ensenada, were well documented. And we still grieve for the lives lost and boats destroyed. One area, not well documented, was the old Santa Rosalia marina located near the old mining town that has become a popular destination. However, word is starting to get out, so you may have read what happened to s/v GOLD EAGLE and others that fateful time. This report is about the conditions in Santa Rosalia where some people drowned when they were swept into the harbor, an entire marina destroyed and boats were down. DURING the hurricane the old marina owner filed suit against the tenants for hurricane damage to his old decrypt marina!

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(Click image to enlarge) PEAR-D and SEA HUNTER AFTER Hurricane Odile on Sept 15-16, 2014 Because of the lawsuit, API refused to allow any salvage, repair, or removal of personal property to take place until several legal hoops were jumped through. Some owners were advised, by legal counsel, to leave Mexico. Otherwise, they might be detained for an indefinite period of time.

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(Click image to enlarge) AFTER Hurricane Odile on Sept 15-16, GOLD EAGLE Awash in Debris and Partially Submerged Mexico operates under Napoleonic code = guilty until proven innocent. As we understand it, the owner’s suit was to hold at least some of the marina tenants responsible for the damage to his marina caused by hurricane Odiel! Now, several weeks after the hurricane event at least one vessel has been re-floated and may be in a sort of “lock up” at the other marina until it all gets sorted out. That could take quite a long time. Before the hurricane, the tenants in the old marina tried to move to the newer marina. However, that marina was full and no one in the old marina was able to get a slip. One of the boats was GOLD EAGLE a 1977, 50 something foot, wood schooner. We met her owner, Ron Strathman, in Ensenada in 2006 when we arrived in Mexico. Ron did much of the work himself to restore and maintain the boat in near Bristal condition.

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(Click image to enlarge) BEFORE Hurricane Odile GOLD EAGLE in 2008 Now, this beautiful wood schooner is laying awash, partially flooded in the Santa Rosalia harbor.

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(Click image to enlarge) AFTER Hurricane Odile on Sept 15-16, 2014 GOLD EAGLE Partly Submerged and Filling with Debris Ron and some friends have put together a page asking for donations to raise, refit, pay any other “fees” that may be required, and take care of legal bills in the Mexican system. Ron is on social security. He no longer has moderately deep pockets thanks to two events. 1. The relative to whom he entrusted his business and essentially looted his company. 2. His investments became nearly worthless in the most recent deep economic downturn. Here’s why the delay: Ron consulted with the US Consulate and they confirmed that Ron’s best course of action at that moment was to return to the USA. As a result, Ron had to delay his request for financial help until he was safely in the USA. By Mexican law, he could not see the court filing unless he was represented by an attorney. Ron has now retained a Maritime attorney. Ron had arranged to refloat GOLD EAGLE immediately after the hurricane. By Mexican law, GOLD EAGLE had to remain where she was, half submerged, until certain legal procedures had been met. Painfully few have discovered his fundraiser URL outside of a few individual email posts from Ron and those that visit his Facebook page (Ron Strathman) recovery through our modest donation and spreading the word through our blog site, the Facebook Group Women Who Sail, and Lynn’s Facebook page (Lynn La Vita). The money will go to raise and fix GOLD EAGLE and also legal fees/costs to fight the marina owner in the Mexican legal system. As a proud US Army Special Forces Green Beret, Ron fought for our freedom, please thank him, if you can. If possible, PLEASE DONATE. All donations are deeply appreciated. The URL is: GOLD EAGLE FUNDRAZR I am copying Ron’s story about this incident below. Please pass this on to as many people as you can. Together we can help Ron reclaim his home and also help him fight a legal system where sometimes the unjust can get there first and “game” the system. Ron’s own words: > Update On GOLD EAGLE – The Rest of the Story > As lots of you now must know the old Marina Santa Rosalia was completely destroyed when hurricane Odiel passed through on the way North Sept 15/16. Gold Eagle and 3 other boats, Pear D (West Sail 32, Toby), Plum Duff (Balboa 26, David David) and Sun Seeker (52 ‘ trawler, Jim) were in in the Old Marina at the time. There were no slips available at the Singular Marina for several days prior to the arrival of Odiel. > Gold Eagle was tied off away from the docks port side to the malecon with ¾” line and chain for chaff protection fore and aft and amidships, spring line fashion and the starboard side 10 ft off the docks to pilings in similar fashion to take wind and surge load off the docks. At the peak of storm Pear D, trailing dock lines still attached to cleats went ashore at the South end of the harbor followed by Sun Hunter also trailed by dock segments and pilings. The remaining dock and finger segments caught Gold Eagle abeam and pressed her into what remained of the ramp and pilings. She ended up grounded port side to the malecon adjacent to the last remaining ramp piling in 4-5 feet of water. Pear D and Sun Hunter (partly awash) were grounded at the S end of the harbor. Plum Duff survived without damage still attached to a 15’ dock remnant and piling. > The next day Plum Duff was pulled off with the help of many Mexican bystanders by heeling the boat with the jib halyard and towing on a bow line. She suffered the loss of the bowsprit and damage to the bow, bumkin, self steering gear and rudder but had not taken on water. > Throughout the following 2 weeks numerous efforts to float Gold Eagle and Sun Hunter were thwarted by local Port authorities. It was determined that some sort of legal action had been taken by the owner of the marina and the Port authorities, under Mexican law, were required to “sequester” the vessels pending resolution of the civil dispute – repair or replacement of marina facilities. > I traveled to San Diego to secure legal assistance, replace lost documents, bank cards, clothing, etc., and managed to locate an excellent Maritime law firm in Mexico.They confirmed the filing of the legal “Demand” in Santa Rosalia and during the following 10 days or so negotiated with Port authorities the immediate release of custody of Gold Eagle to me and permission to undertake salvage efforts, some 3 weeks after Hurricane Odiel struck Santa Rosalia. > Sometime during this process Sun Hunter was floated and towed to the Singular Marina, current status unknown. > I have obtained a replacement passport, bank cards, clothes, etc and will be returning to Santa Rosalia by the weeks end.

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{Click image to enlarge) GOLD EAGLE AFTER Hurricane Odile 2014 Sing in the Lifeboats! > In the meantime we have put together a fundraiser to help with legal expenses, salvage or disposal, pollution, etc expenses. The facebook page for this is “The Old Man and the Schooner” (I didn’t have anything to do with the name!!!) or the link: > https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/5ssRf/ab/a46vp3 > Please pass this along to those who you think might want to help. > Thanks, > Ron Strathman Again, if you can donate anything, even a few dollars can add up very quickly, Please do so now. Here is the URL: GOLD EAGLE FUNDRAZR I know this has been quite long. Thanks for listening/reading and, I hope, for helping Ron in his time of great need.

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