Sailors come in all different varieties. There are racers, cruisers, day sailors, fair-weather sailors and the ever-popular “land sailor” (that’s the sailor who never leaves the dock).
In all these different variations there is a common thread. They all love the mystique and freedom of being aboard a vessel powered by only the wind, and somewhere in their being they know they belong to the ancient history that is sailing.
And there are few who love those feelings more than Captain Larry Beane, skipper of Carmina Mare.
For years, Beane and Carmina Mare were docked in front of Mermaids Cafe in Marina del Rey, where Captain Larry would pick up customers for his charter company, Free Spirit Sailing Adventures.
While Beane loved the Southern California sailing scene, and covered this territory extensively, he had a lifelong dream of sailing away and living the nomadic life of a full-time cruiser. A couple of years ago he did just that. He untied the dock lines and made his way to Mexico, where he successfully ran charters, all the while trying to build up the kitty for his next move down to the Polynesian islands of the South Pacific.
In an effort to keep the economic flame afire, Beane would spend winters in Mexico and return to Marina del Rey to skipper charters in California’s busy season.
This was the year he hoped to make the big hop to paradise. But it wasn’t to be. Beane’s whole world literally came crashing down Sunday, November 9th, around 11 a.m. when he got a call that Carmina Mare was washed up on the beach in Playa del Rey.
His 46-foot motor sailor that was his home, place of employment and passion had come loose from her anchor on a very windy day and all 50,000 pounds of fiberglass and lead now sat on the beach helpless and stranded.
“A big storm came in and I wasn’t in town,” said Beane of the incident. “I have a bridle and an anchor chain hook. The chain hook came off the anchor chain and then the chain just ran out with such speed, it broke the bitter end [the inboard end of an anchor chain or cable, secured in the chain locker of a vessel].
“That was the first time that had ever happened — you live and learn.”
When the boat was initially beached it looked promising that they might be able to float Carmina Mare again. The keel was facing the ocean and the cabin faced the beach. The inside was still dry and with a significant high tide and a powerful tow, it seemed probable the boat could be dragged back to where it belonged.
But the proper services and assistance couldn’t be assembled at the crucial time and the boat was forced to lie like a wounded whale on the beach until the next high tide.
In the interim, the relentless wave action flipped the boat over, causing the cabin to face the ocean’s wrath. Soon a window would be broken, along with a hatch, and water would enter, where it would do great amounts of harm.
By this time Sea Tow out of Marina del Rey was involved and as soon as they were able to access the breached zones of the boat they pumped the water out and reinforced them, hoping to make the cabin watertight again. The hope was, that at the next significant high tide, if there was no water weight to contend with, they could float the boat.
Sadly, the ceaseless pounding of the shore-break broke through again and Sea Tow deemed a tow removal impossible with the equipment available.
“The boat was just lodged in the sand,” commented Nick Campbell of Sea Tow on the potential attempt. “It was not coming up. The windows leaked, the boat filled with water and there was sand in it.”
This second invasion may well have been the ultimate decider of Carmina Mare’s fate. If a boat’s interior, including the motor and electrical systems, gets thoroughly destroyed, the costs to replace and rebuild are too great to warrant renovation.
At last report Beane was considering his options, but it won’t be long before the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors will be pressuring him to have the boat removed for being a safety hazard.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said a fellow-boater watching the helpless vessel get pounded again and again. “This boat was his whole life.”