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Costa Rica: Caution if Placing your Yacht in Bond

By Sue Richards last modified May 09, 2012 09:51 PM

Published: 2012-05-09 21:51:57
Countries: Costa Rica

Posted 11 January, 2012

We arrived at the Costa Rica Yacht Club (CRYC), Puntarenas, on July 29th 2010 and left our catamaran there for 6 months.

As stated in their web site, the CRYC had agreed that while we were away, they would proceed to renewing the customs formalities.

To that purpose, we paid Carlos Chinchilla, the manager, for 6 months moorings fees in advance.

We left the CRYC on August 10th 2010. During our stay in France we sent several mails to check if everything was fine, but never received any answer. Eventually on January 13th 2011, Lisseth GUZMAN, in charge of Public Relations for the CRYC, notified us that the manager was no longer on the payroll of the CRYC.

When we came back to the CRYC on February 21st 2011, we realized that nothing had been done concerning the customs formalities.

On February 28th 2011 we wrote to President Calderon to ask him what arrangements he intended to make to sort out our situation regarding the customs regulations. No answer has been received yet.

We went to the CRYC Annual General Meeting in order to meet President Calderon before or after the meeting, but our attempts to see him were not successful.

We then decided to settle our balance, close our account and leave Costa Rica illegally. We did so on March 12th 2011 with a boat that was not really prepared to complete the long strenuous crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

We have been sailing round the world for over thirty years, visiting more than twenty countries. We have never been confronted to such a situation.

Jean-Luc Avignon
SY Woulib

(Editors Note: The Costa Rica Yacht Club were asked to comment on this incident prior to publishing, but no reply was received. Noonsite however were told that Carlos Chinchilla was dismissed along with some others who worked for him following complaints that had been going on for some years. On 8 May, 2012, noonsite received an e-mail from the CRYC with an apology and explantion of their side of the story).

Posted 9 May, 2012
Response from the Costa Rica Yacht Club

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Costa Rica Yacht Club, I would like to apologize for the difficulties encountered by Mr. Jean-Luc Avignon when leaving his catamaran in-bond at the Club for six months starting August 2010.

Mr. Avignon´s comments are correct. The unacceptable situation that he describes in his note was unfortunately caused by inefficiencies and irregularities directly attributable to the Administration in charge of the Club at that time. Nevertheless, the General Manager was removed over one year ago (the Club proceeded to take legal action against him) and the management structure was satisfactorily modified.

Also, as of the end of year 2011, the Board composition changed, being now headed by Mr. Humberto di Palma, a seasoned yachtsman and a highly respected Costa Rican businessman. Mr. di Palma´s enthusiastic work and plans are now being supported by a group of Board members and administrative personnel who are highly capable and willing to help our visitors in all of their needs.

The Costa Rica Yacht Club has existed for decades and it is a Pacific Coast icon. Many visitors and sailors -some now retired or long gone- have cherished and shared the memorable and pleasant experiences they lived at the Club... we invite you to visit us and be part of that heritage.

Gonzalo J. Gonzalez
Vice-President, Costa Rica Yacht Club