A month after 338 foreign boats were illegally impounded in various marinas around Mexico, the poop is really starting to hit the fan. Officials from various Mexican agencies, such as Tourism, were hoping that AGACE, a subdivision of Hacienda (the Mexican IRS) which mistakenly created the fiasco, would be able to resolve the situation by Christmas or at least the beginning of the new year. They didn’t succeed.
There are three kinds of poop currently hitting the fan.
First, Cleve Hardaker, Staff Commodore of the Pacific Coast Yachting Association, reports that “a good many racers are already canceling plans to sail to Mexico.” During a phone conversation, Hardaker said that “hardly anybody is signing up for the Ensenada Race,” which is historically the biggest race to Mexico. This certainly doesn’t bode well either for MEXORC, the every-other-year major sailing regatta on Banderas Bay. The Mexican government regularly invests several million dollars in that event. Hardaker also reported that one San Diego yacht club that had regularly held races into Mexican waters — i.e. the Coronado Islands — has now revised the courses to keep boats out of Mexican waters.
The second poop is that a Mexican television producer has been filming and interviewing boat owners, marina staff, and officials in Ensenada — where a large number of boats have been impounded — for a segment intended for American television. That’s not good for Mexico or the rest of the West Coast sailing industry.
The biggest bomb of all, however, is that Associated Press, which provides stories for every major newspaper and television in the United States, is planning to run a big story on the problem late this week or early next week. Our understanding is that the impetus for this story was the impounding of a multimillion-dollar boat in Ensenada, a boat that had gone to Ensenada for a few days for boat work, and a boat that was in full compliance with all Mexican regulations. The owner and captain were aboard when AGACE auditors came around. The auditors told them that everything was fine, but nonetheless put the boat on the impound list, later saying they didn’t observe a HIN (hull identification number) on the boat.