In one of the first incidents of piracy on a yacht in the area in a decade, an old friend with the strange name of Juan Pablo Del Solar Goldsmith (J.P. Del Solar to racers everywhere) and his crew were tied up and robbed by pirates last week. J.P. is the current Audi Melges 20 National Champ and a long time anarchist who’s been a sailing coach and Melges racer out of Holland, MI for the past few years. Get to know JP here, a super nice guy who decided to take his dad’s Beneteau First 47.7 from the Great Lakes to Chile – little did he expect he’d end up in his own little Pirates of the Caribbean drama. Here’s a video we did with him at the Melges 20 Nationals.
In their last hop between Roatan, Honduras and the Panama Canal, JP and crew spotted a small green panga approaching their yacht, and when it got close enough, the crew of 4 Nicaraguans pulled out pistols and shotguns. "Of course there is nothing you can do," JP told me. The pirates jumped aboard , tying up J.P. and crew and stealing everything of value aboard. Cash, video and still cameras, booze, navigational equipment, food, computers – all gone, and the pirates were convinced they could find drugs aboard, but didn’t. When J.P. resisted, the pirates shot into the air and told him they would kill him, so he gave up his resistance. Strangely, they left J.P. his iPhone for navigating to Panama, maybe out of respect for another Spanish speaker.
JP has already replaced the shit he needs to get to Chile, but now he’s looking for crew. So if you’re interested in getting some serious sea miles with a pro sailor on a voyage through the Panama Canal, to the Galapagos, and on to Chile and you’re able to get to Panama immediately, get your ass in gear and go sailing with JP. Email him here. Chance of a lifetime, folks.