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Monday, November 12, 2012

Dinghy Theft

John sent this out to Southbounders Yahoo Group at around 2:00 this morning. I would only add that whenever I've read similar accounts by other cruisers I have always scoffed at the notion that the people on board the sailboat would not hear a sound from the thieves. I now know better. John speculates that the thieves drifted/paddled to Nakia, positioned their panga under the dinghy, and cut the hanging harness rope to lower the dinghy down into their panga. When their panga drifted back to make their escape the dinghy would have pulled against the cable still attaching it to Nakia (probably unnoticed by them until then). That noise was what woke John, but by the time he got out the companionway (throw open the heavy hatch above; remove screen in door) they had just cut the cable and he could only watch as they fired up their engine and roared off into the dark with our dinghy and outboard.

We are both sick about this loss because we've been diligent about taking the motor off the dinghy and securing it to Nakia most nights in the past. We were not fully back into cruising mode and got complacent. We returned to Marina Mazatlan this morning. John has gone to the Port Captain's office to complete his report and then we'll be figuring out how to get another dinghy/outboard so we can be on our way again.


----- Original Message -----
Date: 12 Nov 2012 09:08:26 -0000

We just had our dinghy, with outboard motor attached, stolen while at anchor at Isla de Piedra outside of Mazatlan.

The theft occurred at 1230 local [11/11/2012]. The dingy was a grey Achilles with a newly painted white floor. The outboard was a 9.8hp Tohatsu two stroke. The dingy was raised high out of the water on a halyard with the outboard mounted on the transom. The outboard was locked to the dinghy and cabled and locked to NAKIA with 3/16" lifeline wire.

The method of theft was to place a panga under the dinghy, cut the harness suspending the dinghy and then cut the cable. I was woken up by the sound of the cable pulling tight on NAKIA and was on deck in time to see the thieves cut the cable and race away in their panga.

I have been in Mexico since 2004 and this is the first time I've ever had anything stolen from NAKIA, but this theft is pretty disappointing. Normally the motor would have been mounted and chained to the stern pulpit, but just after sunset a SeaDoo boat was having trouble with its engine so I put the motor on the dinghy and went to see if I could help. Rather than put the outboard back on the rail and chain it down I raised the dinghy with a halyard and used the cable to secure it, which is nicer on the teak cap rail than the chain. There was a time when I didn't even bother with the cable.

I have reported the theft to the Port Captain via VHF channel 16 and my only question at this point is: does anyone have the phone number of one or more restaurants here at Isla de Piedra? I'm willing to pay to get the dinghy back (with or without motor) and would like to get the word out to the locals.