A special thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who busted hump over the past 10 days in preparation and clean up. For those of you further away, I have posted the ‘pre-float comments’ that I was able to get out to a request by Scuttlebutt.
PRE-SANDY PREP AND PRE-FLOAT REACTION:
No one was sure exactly where or when Sandy would come ashore but we tried to prepare for the worst, spending the week before, tying down all of the boats in the yard to heavy equipment, and moving equipment to the higher ground at 3 South Street.
On Monday, as the storm was approaching, a small team of Oakclifers headed out to do final checks and lengthen the spectra storm lines with flotation attached to minimize the chance of wrapping. By the time we were done it was 1 pm and blowing 30 with solid gusts to 50 knots. As we were tying the final lobster boat, we could hear and see trees shattering in the wind and actually wondered if we were safer staying on the boat. (Andrew pointed out that we now know the answer to a tree falling in the woods 🙂 But we headed back to the shop to plastic and sandbag all of the doors with two pallets of sandbags.
The midday high tide came just up to the doors but we knew we had one or two more to go.
Monday night was rough, although some particular Saplings used a Hobie to get to the ‘sea’ otherwise known as the OBMC parking lot. When I returned on Tuesday, I was happy to see the Ker 50 floating peacefully in the sunshine. Sadly, that feeling did not last long, as I scanned the horizon and was horrified to see eight masts in a row where the Match 40s had been the day before. We are currently waiting for the arrival of the crane barge to float the boats.
I am holding on to the fact that in the old days this was the way that you prepared for a hurricane: Sink the boats. Thankfully, they do not have any electronics or engines, so hopefully we can rinse and sail. I am trying to stay optimistic, and we have kept ourselves busy from sunrise to sunset cleaning up the clubhouse and the shop that was surrounded by two feet of water with only 2-3 inches getting past the sandbags.
Why did the Match 40s sink? From what we gather, it was just the wave action in that one area, as one other match 40 and a Shields were just on the other side of the harbor and they were fine with hardly any water in them. Unfortunately, when the wind was at its highest (86 and 91 recorded locally), the Match 40s were at the longest fetch for this part of the mooring field and seas were reported to be in the 4-6 foot range with a very short period – as you can imagine!
There are about 15 or 20 other boats overturned or washed up on a concrete breakwater or on front laws, so we may feel lucky once we are able to float the Match 40s. All good wishes are appreciate!
The bad news is that 8 of the 9 match 40s sank. One was on shore with her mast down from the International and the other was further up in the cove. That is the bad news along with the fact that we ended up with 3-4 inches of water throughout the shop and 2 South Street. The GOOD news is that because everyone including all of the competitors, race committee and umpires from the Halloween Invitational helped pull all of the equipment chairs, papers etc up to table top height, the sum total of our loss was a case of Mt. Gay plastic cups which we missed in a corner of the utility room. Maybe Mt. Gay will send some new ones over?
The Oakcliff team plus volunteers showed up at 8am Tuesday morning and pumped and pushed the salt water out, hosed down everything with fresh water, pushed that out, dry mopped and made the place ‘cleaner than before’. The other good news is that as of 6:30 pm Thursday, all of the boats were re-floated, one hauled and one ready to go out – It took from 7:30am until 6:30pm and an amazing effort by Mitch the diver, his team including the Bay Constable Chris – who allowed me to break the speed limit when I went to shore for more air, pizza, parts, etc. as well as a 100 foot barge with a 50 ton crane.
By sunset on Friday – all boats were out of the water, rigs down, power washed, pumped out, electrolysis washed away and penetrating oil sprayed on all metal parts and fasteners. Three are inside to dry and the others will go in Monday morning. Special thanks to OBMC for all of their help in the midst of many other recovery efforts.
To our supporters, we are obviously NOT going to sail them for the rest of the season (2 Saturday’s) because we want to totally strip and service all parts. There was an incredible amount of electrolysis on the metal – I suspect because of the amount of live wires which were torn down by trees and dumped in to the water. BUT – other than some rudder damage we are good and very thankful that it could have been so much worse.
Special thanks to those of you who showed up or are coming back or offered to help: Ervin, Aiden, Lorenzo, Brendan, The Idahoians, Ann, Todd Sparling who drove down from Marblehead. Max and Ervin- we will see you next week. Glenn thank you for the Frankly Good coffee sent from Las Vegas and others for their offers of help from Toronto to Florida! Hope that those of you still trapped are hanging in there and will soon have power, water, heat, phone service etc. For those far away offers of help – I think we are going to be OK but with that being said we have a lot of winch cleaning and rig lubing so if you are in the area we WILL put you to work 🙂
A big sincere thank you for your hard work and continuing support.