Benitia Rail Bridge Dismasting



Following is the accident report I filed on that fateful day in Benitia. The sound of the rig coming down was awful, I can still hear it and probably will for a long time. Fortunately, no injuries. Hitting a bridge and dismasting is a very humbling affair, and not one I will repeat, at least not on my boat! At the time of this writing (several months after the fact) the boat is almost ready to sail again, and so am I !!


Accident Report

May 9, 1998

McGinnis Insurance Services, INC.


Dave and/or Carolyn,

This is to report a dismasting accident of my Tayana 55 sailboat in Carquinez Straight on May 9th, 1998 at 12:45 PM PDT. Myself and my girlfriend, Paula Fondiller, were the only persons on board. Please find the details of the accident below:

Was sailing in an easterly direction under the Benitia Vehicular bridge, then struck the Benitia Rail bridge between casons number 8 & 9 with the top of the mast. The spar (mast) broke at the mid section and the top of the broken section fell to the deck at center line breaking the rear stateroom hatch and teak decking. The bottom portion of the top section stayed attached to the still standing lower section. The bow anchor roller and bow pulpit were ripped off of the bow peak. The roller furling jib’s mid section ended up in the water, and was subsequently secured and brought along side up and out of the water. Proceeded to motor baxk to Jack London Square, the boat’s home port after securing the felled rigging.

Boat details:


Location: Jack London Square Marina, SLIP XXXX


Hull ID: TYA5501XXXX

1983 55 ft. Tayana sailboat, 130 HP Perkins auxilary

I contacted USCG upon arrival into home port who directed me to call Marine Safety Office, which I did, and filed a verbal report with them(510-437-3073). I then contacted the Bridge Authotity and filed a verbal report with them (510-228-5943). I have just filled out a California Boating Accident Report and am mailing that in today to the Dept. of Boating and Waterways.

I will be travelling for the next 2 weeks and can be reached on my cell phone or through voice mail at work which I check regularly.


Adrien Fournier

Adrien Fournier


Bow damage from exsessive forestay tension...?...RIGHT!

My mast (was) 69 feet from the deck, NOT THE WATERLINE.

Nuff Said!