Derelict returns

Catamaran designer Richard Woods who was airlifted off his 32ft multi-hull, Eclipse, six months ago in a storm off Mexico is weighing up the cost of refitting his yacht after news arrived she was towed into Panama.

He has sent Yachting Monthly this report: ‘We are still trying to find out more details, so we are not quite sure of all the facts, but we do have two of my builders helping us to find out more.

The mast is missing, but also gone are the rudders, davits,
companionway door, even the cockpit loudspeakers. The stanchions are bent,
and there appears to be a deep scrape on the port side.

However someone has cleaned the decks of guano.

Unfortunately, at the moment it doesn’t look as though it is worth refitting

We would have to pay a salvage fee, probably a minimum of USD15,000
(although in April the fishermen wanted a lot more than that). We know that
refitting Eclipse in Panama would be a frustrating and expensive business so
we have investigated shipping it elsewhere. It would cost USD17,000 to ship
it to Nanaimo, BC, the nearest port to here, even more to the UK.

Then we would have to buy mast, boom, rigging, furling gear, trampoline,
sails, engine, rudders, saloon cushions, electronics. And we haven’t seen
inside yet, nor done a structural survey. So costs can only go up, not down.
We estimate there to be over USD50,000 of new equipment to buy. That’s a
total of USD82,000 or about GBP50,000, which is much more than it cost to
build Eclipse in the first place. Even if we had the money, it is hard to
justify spending that much.

Fortunately we are no worse off than we were on January 20th. In many ways
it’s better. We now have proof that Eclipse can survive storm force winds
unaided and without any stability or apparent structural problems. We also
know that Eclipse stayed afloat for 6 months with no one on board.

Instead we will move on and concentrate on sailing our 25ft Merlin
catamaran, Tucanu. We are really looking forward to cruising the area we
raced through last year on Kubapeety. There is a group of US multihull
sailors cruising in company to Desolation Sound in August and we expect to
meet up with them at some stage. Next year I hope to get some racing sails
and then compete in local multihull races, something I haven’t done for