Monday, February 5, 2018

She's up!

Just shy of five months after Hurricane Irma, Saralane was lifted off her side and set back on stands. First, a few photos of the lift... then I'll backtrack a bit.

Still a little wonky but happy to be upright at last
Skip has been to Virgin Gorda twice more since my last post, but with nothing new to report until his most recent trip, I held off on a blog post. By sheer coincidence, he was on his way there when he got an email from the yard saying they were working in Saralane's area and could lift her the next day. The timing was perfect. Skip arrived on a Wednesday and she was righted on Thursday morning.

Big kudos go to Chris Cooke and his right hand man, Shaggy, who expertly lifted Saralane off her side and set her upright again without incident. VGYH then moved Saralane to her to a new spot with their trailer. Chris and his father Geof Cooke have been instrumental in getting rigging untangled and boats righted. With the absence of any meaningful communication from yard management, Geof's wife Candy was the primary conduit for information about what was happening there. Without the Cooke's crane, their professionalism, persistance and determination to help however they could, the yard would still be a mess of tangled rigging and toppled boats.

Back to some photos from Saralane just before she was righted - this view across the yard from her tilted deck gives a sense of the scope of the work still to be done. Not a single mast was upright and most were broken.

Top of our mast, tangled with rigging from a neighboring boat
To get an idea of the power of wind at 200+ miles an hour, take a look at the twisted ends of one of our 3/8" solid steel stays. It was bent into a U shape at the spreader and twirled together as tightly as a twist tie on a plastic bag. Crazy.
Unsalvageable things headed for the trash bin

Skip captured a wave for me from Maurice.... hi Maurice!
Broken masts tagged with boat names and lined up in the yard
Broken palms at the entrance to the yard. Irma tore the second floor (the yard office) off the building.

VGYH fuel and water dock, with upside down catamaran
One view of the marina at VGYH
Broken docks and boats
'La Boheme', our friend Clinton's 60' Gulfstar where she sank in the marina
La Boheme's mast
Where Buck's grocery store used to be
Shops of VGYH all boarded up
Skip had an opportunity to take a friend's dinghy up to North Sound and brought back some images from there as well as from Trellis Bay and Nanny Cay on Tortola. We've all been seeing photos of the damage for months now, but it's still shocking. Some of these are from his second trip down in mid-December and some are from the most recent trip just a few weeks ago.

Masts in Nanny Cay
A boat stand punched through this hull in VGYH...
...and this one in Nanny Cay.
Even this boat in a cradle in Nanny Cay was badly damaged
Saba Rock
Bitter End
Bitter End
Bitter End
The Fat Virgin Cafe
Work boats tossed up on the shore
Peg Legs at Nanny Cay
Our favorite new laundry in Trellis Bay was reduced to a concrete pad and a few machines covered with tarps.
Trellis Bay shoreline
Trellis Bay

Aragorn's studio, gallery and shops in Trellis Bay
Trellis Bay
Trellis Bay
Once Skip pumped all the water out of Saralane, things stayed pretty dry below. After the critical things had been tended to, he decided to try to salvage our old boat records that spent several months underwater.

Files drying out on a friend's boat, weighted down with a block and flipper and tape
His attempt at drying things in the Caribbean sun was thwarted by rain showers, so he tucked the whole soggy mess into his backpack and brought them home to dry.

Which begs the question.... will we ever actually look at any of this stuff again? Or was it simply a need to rescue a bit of our history? Either way, we have piles of mildewed, crumpled, stained paper that chronicle the making of Saralane.

We're feeling good about having made some progress on the ground in Virgin Gorda though things inside the boat are still a mess. Next step for us is a battle (er... "negotiation") with our insurance company.

I'll leave you with one last look at Saralane as Skip left her, and a promise to post updates as things change.

She's the only one standing in this photo