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…..
Ok so…. The boat is all settled in. She is on a mooring ball as we work on her. The frustration has mounted as we take 2 steps forward and 5 steps back. There is much more work than we anticipated. Oh boy is there more work. The leak elimination was going well. So we thought. For every leak we fix we find another. While fixing the window leak in the head it starts pouring. Turn your head and what do we see across the way? If you answered another leaky window, you are correct. We didn’t know about that one. Also we Fixed the leaky mast only to find out there is water coming from inside the mast as well. Oh the joy of a dry boat. She will most definitely be a very dry boat by the time we are done with her.
Surely you have seen hamsters running on a wheel. This how we are feeling about now. And yes at any given moment one of us may be ready to jump ship. The thought has crossed our minds a time or two. That isn’t happening though. We are in this together for the long haul. The rewards will be AMAZING. That is what keeps us chugging along one project at a time. We have accomplished a lot though . To stay motivated we have to look at the projects we have accomplished. She was an 1 1/2 hrs. away before so every trip was less productive than it is now. The engine is installed and running properly. That took a bit of work. Not much info available for that installation. Dennis is working on a post all about that project. The house batteries and solar panels are up and running. Sometimes things got done more than once. She has gotten a good scrubbing on the inside to get rid of mold and mildew. The bilge has been scrubbed and is now free of past diesel and whatever the hell else was in there. It stunk. The shower drain leads away from the mast and into our nice clean bilge now instead of water sitting at the bottom of the mast. Several leaks have been repaired so she is getting drier each time we go out to work on her.
We need to take her out for a joy ride soon though. All work and no play makes for a grumpy crew.
We need the rain yes, but enough already! There is a reason for everything, at least that is what we keep telling ourselves. It seems to hold true enough in this instance and all this non-stop rain here in Florida lately has been a blessing in disguise. We prefer our boat to be as dry as possible, but mother nature as usual has other plans. The rain has shown us where every single little leak is. There still may be more we don’t see, yeah! Seriously it can stop raining now, please. The to do list is getting a bit longer than any of us would like. Did we really expect anything less? Nah, of course not.
The major leaks that need attention for the moment are above the engine room coming from fuel fill valve and one of the cockpit drain hoses. That one is kind of a big deal. It turns out all those frustrating motor install delays have been a blessing in disguise. We would probably be cursing and crying had the motor been installed before finding that particular leak. Then we have the front port stanchions leaking that have done a good bit of damage to the front portion of the bulkhead. That’s going to be a whole other repair job. The window in the head needs 1 new latch and probably some type of new gasket. The amount of water coming in there is amazing. Of course the keel stepped mast is leaking. Lastly there are a couple of small leaks from the windows in the main cabin. It is starting to feel like I bought another fixer-upper (lol). The thought “What the hell did we get ourselves into” has crossed our minds more than once lol.