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Sunday, July 31, 2011

A SEA STORY........


"We're on the beach! Wake up everyone and put on a life jacket." It was July 1933 and my father, George Minney had run a charter aboard his father's 50' power boat "Arvea" from Catalina to Coches Prietos anchorage on Santa Cruz island. George arrived at the anchorage at 2100 hours and noted a large south swell running and that the surf pounding on the beach was a surreal sight with the phosphorus and foam making a bright neon green looking glow along the surf line. Dad anchored "Arvea" in 8 fathoms and stayed on deck another half hour taking bearings and assuring himself that he was well anchored. He then sacked out in the small pilot house bunk and went to sleep. His charter party of 6 and gone to bed an hour before the anchor hit the water. At about 0300 there was a huge thump and "Arvea" shuddered from stem to stern. Dad was up in seconds and saw that "Arvea" was in the surf line! He started the single diesel engine, jammed it in gear and gave it full throttle. He was able to power the bow towards the incoming surf when a monster wave made "Arvea" rear up like a horse. Dad felt a sickening shock as the fast spinning propeller and rudder dug into the sand and the engine stopped. Seconds later "Arvea" was beam to the breakers and on the beach. The charter party strapped on the life jackets my dad gave them and jumped one by one on my dad's orders into the frigid surf and made it safely to high ground. As the sun came up, "Arvea" was a grotesque sight. The teak paneled pilot house and entire super structure was ripped off and the hull was breaking up. "Arvea" was a total loss! My dad and his 6 guests were stranded at Coches for 3 days. Finally, a passing fish boat picked them up and took them to Santa Barbara. Later a salvage crew retrieved the anchor rode and anchor. They found that the shackle pin had worked out of the anchor shackle. My father had painted the anchor 2 weeks before and forgot to SAFETY WIRE the shackle pin to the shackle body. A penny's worth of wire could have prevented this entire disaster?

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