In mid-January a young house-builder and sailor, Donn Pinkney set off for an adventure sailing trip south from Dana Point in California with a friend on his 27-foot Catalina sailing boat Finesse. By February 20th they had reached Manzanillo in Mexico, but his friend couldn’t go any further. He set out alone anyway and hasn’t been seen since.
His 27-foot sailboat washed up on Mexico’s west coast in late February, stripped and empty, with no sign of its skipper.
Did he slip overboard? His father thinks no. “He is very experienced sailor. He’s not an amateur,” Pinkney, Sr. told the local press. “The probability that he fell overboard — the chances are slim to none. The weather was not such that he would be flipped off. That is not impossible, but it is highly improbable.”Friends agree. “After looking at the NOAA reports and everything, it [weather] just really doesn’t appear to have been a factor,” friend Brett Schreckengost said. “Most of the people that know him, know that he would have been taking every precaution to be harnessed in while he was on the boat and we just don’t think he fell off the boat.”
Donn was last heard from February 20th, when he set out solo from Manzanillo — near Puerto Vallarta — bound for Zihuatanejo, where he was to have met friends. He never showed. The 270-mile trip south should have taken him three days but five days later Finesse washed up on the beaches of La Ticla, in between his departure point and his destination.
It wasn’t reported to authorities until several days later, and by that time it had been completely stripped.
But his father, Donn Pinkney Sr. said lack of communication among Mexican authorities and bureaucratic disorganization have stymied his efforts to find out what happened. Because of the presence of drug cartels that run in the same waters as where the yacht was found the possibility of foul play exists.
For the complete story, go to www.sail-world.com.