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Primadonna's Latest Controversy
Scavenging, Wrecking or Theft?
April 19, 2014
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ontroversy keeps lapping up against the S/V Primadonna, the steel boat with fading red paint that homesteaded in Oriental’s harbor for a year before going aground on a remote Bahamian reef this winter.

The S/V Primadonna as seen in a photograph taken this winter between Booby Cay and Mayaguana.

It was learned this week that Primadonna’s French crew – Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann — have not been deported back to France, as previously intimated. Instead, they have been detained for the past several months at the Government of Bahamas Detention Centre for illegal immigrants in Nassau, according to Bahamian authorities.

One official with the Royal Bahamas Police Force told TownDock.net this week that Ott and Christmann are “being processed” and that the Government of the Bahamas is “awaiting information from the French Consul so that we can proceed with deportation.”

Indications are that any deportation may not happen quickly. The stumbling block appears to be money — who would pay for Ott and Christmann’s passage back to France? That’s often a point of contention for smaller countries and their budgets.

Primadonna: A Wreck?

While Ott and Christmann remain in detention, their boat, last known to be stuck on a reef at the easternmost Bahamian island of Mayaguana, is at the center of a widening storm of debate.

This time, however, the main player is not Ott – who was involved in a counterfeit check cashing scandal in Oriental last fall. Instead, the limelight is now on a cruising family of four – who came upon the Primadonna a month ago on that reef and took what they wanted from the red boat familiar to Oriental.

Mira (or Dragomira Georgieva – the longer name that appears on an email sent to TownDock) has been living on a “shiny 38-foot relatively new catamaran” named “Fata Morgana” with her husband, Ivo and teenaged son and daughter, since last year. The family emigrated from Bulgaria to Canada 12 years ago. In a posting on her blog, “The Life Nomadik,” this month, she recounts how her family climbed aboard the Primadonna one day in mid-March. As she posted in her story, “The Day We Found Primadonna,” the crew of “Fata Morgana” went on to “spend the entire day going through all the things on the boat.”

Then they took. As Mira Georgieva wrote,

“We get what we need too plus some junk that we surely don’t need but it is too good to leave behind and we might sell it or keep it as spares. Like the winches (two oversize ones and two smaller ones), swivels (we love swivels), and ropes (five good long ropes, one is heavy duty, can use it for hurricanes), in excellent condition. We leave the sails except one that looks like a blue spinnaker in a bag, this one we take (we didn’t have a spinnaker and we so much wanted to have one).”

The listing of the haul continues:

“…we do need the life raft (it’s an old one, but a life raft is an essential expensive thing for the long distance cruiser), the surfboard, and the shiny new windlass (heavy but precious, we take it for a spare), three sets of snorkeling gear (strange yellow ones, very good quality, made in Italy, very dirty, as if people have been snorkeling in mud, but we clean them with Clorox), a marine radio, some flags and clothes (a strange dress made of window curtains and mosquito nets, became my official wrecking dress), a nice domino set, a portable compass, and many more treasure.”

Wrecking is the term she uses to describe taking the haul from Primadonna. “Wrecking,” Mira Georgieva writes, “is so much fun!”

Pat Stockwell’s Reaction

One item not mentioned in the “wrecking” account of the Primadonna is a roller furler.

That piece of equipment — still in Oriental — was central to last fall’s counterfeit check controversy. Back then, Pascal Ott had claimed that someone had sent him a check for $2980 to buy a roller furler he had offered for sale on Craig’s List.

The roller furler that Pascal Ott said he sold to someone for $2980 in September. Pat Stockwell co-endorsed what turned out to be a bad check and Ott declined to give him all the money back. He did leave the roller furler with Stockwell, the manager of the Provision Company, where the furler is currently among the used goods available for purchase.

Ott had asked Pat Stockwell, manager of the Provision Company in Oriental, to co-endorse the check. The $2980 check was bad and Ott kept most of the money, then departed US waters just after a small claims judge ruled that Ott should repay Stockwell in full. He still owed Stockwell some $2,500.

But if you thought Pat Stockwell would take pleasure in hearing that Mira Georgieva’s family had taken things off of the Primadonna, you’d be mistaken.

When TownDock.net contacted him this week, Stockwell was blunt.

“They’re thieves,” he says, speaking of “Fata Morgana“s crew.

Pat Stockwell inside the Provision Company. He tried to help Pascal Ott last fall by co-endorsing a check that turned out to be bogus. Ott kept most of the money from it. Stockwell however criticizes those who took winches, a windlass and other items from Ott’s boat last month while it was aground on a reef in the Bahamas.

Stockwell says he understands how some might see some “what goes around, comes around” equivalence — that the crew of Primadonna “stole from me and now they’re being stolen from.” But Stockwell says he “can’t get past” the idea of one sailor boarding another sailor’s boat and taking things from it.

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Posted Saturday April 19, 2014 by Melinda Penkava

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