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Thursday, January 7, 2016

We are OK

Last night, after sunset, we had a significant weather event.  According to boat reports with wind instruments, we had winds in Georgetown to 75 knots, gusting to 91 knots.  At Staniel Cay, they had 106 knots.  It was all related to an elongated low that formed near Cuba and then moved northeast very near if not over us.

We were in the middle of dinner when it hit and knocked us over on our side.  The wind direction made a change of over 90 degrees.  It is great holding at Monument, however when Hold Fast’s anchor turned to reset, it fouled on some canvas.  We were on the move.  The seas were quickly over 4 feet in the anchorage.  Myron drove the boat to keep us from ramming others, while I was on the bow trying to get the storm snubber off the anchor chain and get the anchor up.  It was a significant challenge as I spent about 20% of the time holding my breath as the bow dipped into the oncoming seas.  I had my inflatable life vest on and I am thankful that it did not self-inflate in the middle of my task.  Everyone had their motors on and we were all able to keep boats from coming together and we never fouled anyone else’s ground tackle.

As we maneuvered away from the anchorage to an open spot, we checked to see if the dinghy was still attached to Hold Fast.  It was, but it had flipped over in the winds.  We could not see the dinghy engine and assumed it was on the bottom back at the anchorage.  We pulled out into the middle of Elizabeth Harbour and put out a 12 to 1 scope, managed to get the storm snubber back on in the rough seas and then waited it out.  It was now 8:45 pm.  By midnight, the winds let up and we could go check gear again.  The wind vane suffered some re-arranging when the dinghy went airborne, the generator had been tied down on deck, so it still there and we secured it in the cockpit.  I had one of the water ports open hoping to catch rainwater, so we fouled the port-side tank with sea water.  The inside of the boat was a mess.  To my delight and surprise, the coconut pie I had just made was about the only thing that did not find the floor!

Our first priority at daybreak was to right the dinghy.  As we pulled the dinghy to the side of the boat, we were elated to see that the black motor which we could not see at night was still attached, albeit inverted and taking a good salt water soak.  We wrestled the dinghy upright using a halyard, and were able to recover the fuel tank and fuel line.  The dinghy anchor was entangled with the motor and fuel line.  We lost one oar and the paddles that attach to the ends of both oars. 

The outboard is now on the back of Hold Fast.  Myron has pulled the spark plugs, sprayed it with WD40 and it is drying out. He will change the oil next.  He did a good once over of Hold Fast’s Ford Lehman engine as it worked very hard as Myron powered against such significant winds.  All is well. 

Many of us were checking on each other via radio and email last night.  It is good to be in the company of people who care and want to help.  Last night we got an offer from ‘Jammin’ to help us find out outboard and this morning we got a call from ‘Tilt’ offering the same thing.  We listened to the net this morning about all the boaters who incurred damage either from going ashore or tangling with other boats.  Myron is making notes about who else needs help.  Several have suffered much worse than us.  I will put our oar and oar paddles on the lost and found list.

I have bruises but nothing is broken.  To sum it up, we had our butts handed to us last night.  But we are OK and better off than some.  Today is a day of recovery.

Love to all,

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