Neither one of us has ever sailed so how did this whole sailing thing even come onto our radar? I blame it all on Dennis. He can have all the credit for the crazy idea this time. Dennis had stumbled on some sailing videos on You Tube and it took off from there. He went in search of a first boat that we could learn to sail on. I present to you our very first sailboat which we lovingly named Squirt.
Oh the fear that little yellow boat instilled in me. Dennis played fearless. There was a very big learning curve with Squirt that included but was not limited to getting stuck, drifting into the pier, running aground on oysters, getting stuck in a storm and almost flipping her over more than once. Needless to say it was never a dull moment when we took her out. There was definitely a Lot of learning going on. It wasn’t all terrifyingly frought with misadventure though. We enjoyed ourselves on many sailing days also. There were dolphins that you could almost reach out and touch. The views and of course the sailing itself was Amazing.
After about two years or so of sailing Squirt we decided we wanted a bigger boat that can eventually take us further. Dennis had his list of musts. There were some long drives to look at some doozeys. Time, patience, and quite a few boats later we found a Bristol 29.9. The price was right because she didn’t have an engine which was big on Dennis’s must list. He had his heart set on putting in an electric engine. He got his wish and then some.
Senora del Mar
Turns out this girl needs more work than originally anticipated. That is usually how it goes though isn’t it? She is coming along slowly but surely. All the projects and hard work will pay off.
Would love to hear how sailing came into your life? Did you grow up a salty sailor or did you find the adventure later on?
Hurricane Irma blew threw fierce as ever. It was the hurricane that would NOT end. Honestly it was the longest lasting hurricane I think I have ever experienced.
Our biggest concern of course was our little Bristol because all of our hopes, dreams and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears have been poured into her. She is the foundation of our next phase in this adventure we call life. The thought of losing her had my anxiety spiked and knots in my stomach.
Day 1: we could not get downtown to see if she had made it through the storm. The city had been shut down. So we turned around and headed back to the house. Fingers still crossed and continually telling myself she was just fine and happily floating exactly were we left her. Day 2: we made it downtown. The town was already buzzing with everyone cleaning up the mess that Irma had left behind. We pulled up to the sea wall and got out of the car. Digging out the binoculars as I was shaking violently was a challenge. The fear as we looked past the boats that had broken loose of their moorings and slammed into the seawall was very unnerving. It is a devastatingly sad sight. I couldn’t even see through the binoculars because I was shaking so bad. I finally found a good spot to rest them on so I could actually see where she hopefully was still secured and floating. Tears, hugs, squeals of joy and high fives all around because she was still exactly where we left her. She made it through! I don’t even know how to begin to describe the relief and joy that washed over us when we saw her floating secured to her mooring.
Off we went down the street to the marina. Holy Shit!!! It was a disaster. Docks were destroyed and at least 3 boats had sunk. Marina staff was already hard at work cleaning up the mess. Although we could not take our own boat out to check on Señora del Mar the marina staff took us out to her so we could check the lines and make sure she was secure and dry. We are so very thankful for that. Now we wait till we can go back and get to work putting her back together.
Well, it was a lot of work, but we did our best to prepare the boat to give her the best chance of survival. Here is a list of what we did. Hopefully this may help you if you are faced with a similar situation.
Removed roller furling head sail
Removed main sail
Removed anchor to prevent line chafe
Re-tightened all window screws
Checked bilge pump and lever
Removed solar panel
Shut down solar controller
Removed bimini and frame
Installed 2 new 5/8ths double braided rope
Secured anti chafing gear in place
Secured motor battery bank with tie down straps
Had a beer with a neighbor that is crazy enough to stay with his boat through the storm
Removed dinghy, scraped the bottom and stored her in the garage
The one thing I forgot and regret not doing is to turn the 2 dorades (ventilation) to face back in the cockpit area. Water will more than likely enter here since there is no actual dorade box, just the pipes that lead directly to the inside back of the boat. Unfortunately it’s too late to take care of now.
The rest is up to God and Mother Nature. Wish us well…..