Beached boat stuck near Pesuta, for now

  • Aug. 31, 2009 6:00 p.m.

A 35-foot sailboat shipwrecked on East Beach just north of the Pesuta wreck site may have to stay there until mid-September brings higher tides. Lucy Stefanyk, BC Parks area supervisor for Haida Gwaii, said attempts last week to refloat the beached boat were unsuccessful because it is so far up on the shore. “The crew are safe and the boat is in good condition,” Ms Stefanyk said. “There really is no other option but to wait for the tides to cycle back.” Ms Stefanyk said there were two people aboard the sailboat: skipper and owner Jim Rohrssen of Lopez Island, Washington, and crew mate Laura Otness of Juneau, Alaska. Ms Otness has since returned to Alaska, but Mr. Rohrssen remains with his boat. The wreck was first reported on Aug. 24 by Queen Charlotte residents Charlie and Barbara Mack, who came across it while out hiking. They told Ms Stefanyk, who alerted the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was already out looking for the sailboat, because the crew had called for help the morning of Aug. 24 but had given a location near Louise Island, said maritime search and rescue coordinator Troy Haddock. As a result, the Coast Guard had dispatched its rescue boat out of Sandspit and was about to launch an air search because they had been unable to find the vessel. Mr. Haddock said it was the second time in three days the Coast Guard had been called to assist the same boat. On Aug. 22, the skipper called for help after he went aground in the entrance to Masset harbour. The Coast Guard auxiliary refloated him. “He was a bit of a repeat offender,” Mr. Haddock said. Ms Stefanyk said the boat apparently came ashore after the tiller snapped during a storm. She said several local people have been incredibly helpful with the situation, including the Macks, Leandre Vigneault, and Craig Beachy. “BC Parks is continuing to work with the vessel owner to ensure its safe removal,” she said. “But basically, he’s beached there until the next set of high tides.”