18 year old lout steals family yacht and runs it aground.

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Tue 17 Jul 2012 20:47

We escaped from Santa Ponsa and ventured back around to Palma Nova for a couple of days with Tengy.

Palma Nova needs some explanation as it adjoins Magalluf which is a very popular and cheap place for young British people to come for sunburn, drunkenness, other intoxicating substances, another tattoo or two and one imagines a fair bit of arts and crafts - well - candle dipping at least.

Walking around Magalluf it's a sea of sunburnt British bellies, all tattoos on show with football club names being very popular, bikini's or shorts not restricted to beach, and outdoor bars for as far as the eye can see.  Needless to say there's a fair bit of yobbishness particularly when the football is on.  Second in popularity to bars / restaurants is the private doctor surgeries, they all take all insurances and have no shortage of business it would seem.

Mike and Mandy were intending to go ashore for a look around but as it turned out there was no need, shore came to us.  Having retired for the evening we were awoken at about midnight by the sound of a boat swooshing past quite quickly and close, so close we could hear it over and above the usual shouting from the holidaymakers ashore.

Popping my head up through the hatch it was immediately obvious that either someone had either stolen a yacht or that the owner was having some crazy meltdown and had decided to play grand theft marine with a real boat.  There was a 40 foot yacht playing slalom around the anchorage at about 6knots.  Having successfully missed our boat it was headed for the next biggest target, an 80 foot gin palace.  He sped directly for it adjusting course now and then shouting Oiiiii, he managed to shave past the tender and motored right close up the port side, went very sharp around the bow and hard down the starboard side (more Oiiiii's) going on waving to three lads on the launch that had immediately prior been jumping off having a midnight swim.  We found later that all this had been done while dragging 20 metres of chain and anchor.

Having managed to miss the super yacht the skipper then headed for something bigger, the rocky shore of Palma Nova.  I yelled to Denise to grab me some shorts with the intention of racing out and taking command but there was just a few seconds before this idiot would be on the rocks, I screamed at him to turn and finally he turned but now he headed along parallel to the coast and directly for the concrete pier outside the bars.

By the time I had cast off and started the dinghy the yacht had thankfully run aground (in sand) before it had hit the pier or another yacht.  The yacht behind us has also been buzzed and the owner had also gone to assist, I woke and collected Mike from Tengy and we arrive a couple of minutes later.

Apon arrival we found two people aboard, a soaking wet young British chap about 18 years old with a pair of ridiculous bird (swallow?) tattoos on his chest, and and older chap, obviously the owner of the boat behind me.  Ascertaining who was who the story was that the young chap was staying aboard the yacht and his friends were ashore, he had been worried about the anchor dragging and had been trying to save the yacht but was a totally inexperienced skipper and things got out of hand.

Conditions at the time were dead calm, good visibility and zero wind.  Unfortunately the boy could not name the boat or its port, explain why he was soaking wet, tell me which cabin was his and he had no gear aboard.  Things were pretty clear that he'd swum out, climbed aboard, turned the key and went full steam ahead.  He stuck to his implausible version of the story for a long, long time.  He was pretty intoxicated, although he did not seem drunk, there was no slurring of words and he was not too unsteady on his feet.  Mostly 
he was concerned for himself and at what his friends would think, never once did he utter the word sorry.  He did however spout out a load of other lies and rubbish at times.

He probably still won't recognise that what he almost did was ruin years of planning and saving that it took this owner to get here in the first place, let alone the hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage he nearly caused along with risk to lives in the process.  Now he has his 15 minutes of fame, and a criminal record pending.   British press even helpfully added 'wrecks yacht' and 'sailed it into rocks' to bolster the headline for him.         http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2012/07/16/shropshire-teen-holidaymaker-‘wrecks-yacht’/     


Thankfully though the young chap was not aggressive and he sat pretty passively while we tried radioing for assistance.  No one on marine radio was interested in helping and it was quite some time before we decided the best approach was for someone to go ashore perhaps to a bar, call some police and bring them out.  In the meantime the Irish owners returned, family of four.  We feared things would kick off but thankfully it didn't and after being told to 'button it' a few times, see i'm good with kids:-), he simply sat there or sobbed.  Luckily too, from the owner's point of view it simply looked like his yacht had drifted had drifted calmly onto the beach, I guess things would have been different if he’d known what i knew.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We hooked up a halyard to Moxie's tender to heel the boat over which with 15HP we did pretty well, and Mike drove her off fairly easily after that.  The police arrived and Mike and I then left them all to it.

It is sensible to leave the key in the ignition all the time as might have been the case here as sometimes you need to instantly start the engine,  like for instance there's a tornado coming in 5 minutes which did happen to us a fortnight ago.  If you are not aboard then perhaps someone else will need to help your boat, say if your anchor was dragging.  It does leave the yacht open to this sort of idiocy though.

Here's the boat that was taken a couple of days later in Santa Ponsa, no damage apparent.  It’s a Beneteau 411 Celebration registered in Northern Ireland I think.