| By Lee Martin - College Station,
The engine cranking woke me. Was that the engine?
Sure, it had disturbed me a dozen times on this trip.
It was one of the many problems that plagued us from
Galveston to Belize. The negative ground had rusted
away and the batteries needed charging constantly.
Really stupid. Many things about the trip were really
The boat was a 42' trimaran- owner built in a 20
year period. Problem was the owner is a brilliant
builder who never learned navigation, anchoring and
the basics of boat handling. A bad combination when
you consider he imagined he knew this information
and would take no advice. Advise go east- you'll be
going west- guaranteed.
this is a Cross 44 - not the
same boat in the story, but presented here as an example
of the type and size of the boat in the story - thanks
After a horrible 8 day crossing to Isla Mujeres
[at one time we found ourselves 50 miles from Port
Isabel], we relaxed and partied in town for a few
days- what a great place to snorkel and bar hop. Five
days later with trepidation on my part, we were off
on the last leg- San Pedro, Belize. My nervousness
was caused by scheduling. We were ,of coarse, late.
The captain had promised to pick up friends, who were
waiting for us. in order to make up time, we were
breaking one of my personal rules. Never sail in unknown
coral waters at night. There are plenty of anchorages--
While in Isla Mujeres we picked up a vital piece
of information. There is a two knot current, shore
bound, all along the Mexican coast. The captain heard
and understood this message, from a sailor who had
just completed this passage, and ignored it while
plotting his course. The result was the engine waking
me again at 5:15 A.M. that morning. No, someone was
calling "get up--- get up". The noise was
the keel, on the reef, just inside the border of Belize,
As the sun started making light we could see our
predicament. No one in sight, the wind building, stuck
on the reef on the mosquito coast. Sounds like a recurring
nightmare and it should have been. By pure luck a
boat passed and came to our aid, the man was a warden
for the National Park System of Belize. Yes, we were
on the reef, owned by the country and the captain
was responsible for any damage to the reef. The story
gets worse but it's to painful to write. By 10 P.M.
we were in bed in a motel in San Pedro, we left the
boat on the reef! I couldn't believe it was going
to end this way. The police came and talked to my
buddy and me the next morning- they were holding the
captain, but we could go. Great news- we had air tickets
for that afternoon- home.
The true end came a year later when the captain
sailed his tri back to the slip he had left so many
mistakes ago. The builder in him had taken over, he
got the boat off the reef and rebuilt it in Central
America. That is an almost unbelievable task. I didn't
think it was possible.
The lessons to be learned are obvious and many.
It's great to be able to profit from the mistakes
of others. Local knowledge as it were.
On Feb 19, 2007, we recieved the following:
I was very pleased to see the
photo used for the article and the plug for my website.
Thanks so much for that. If you ever need a photo
of a particular CROSS trimaran and some catamarans,
I would consider it a privilege to provide one.
I am a attaching a CROSS 42 photo incase you would
like to substitute it for the CROSS 44 your now
have. Again thanks for the plug.
CROSS Multihull Designs
Other articles by Lee Martin: