Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1983 (1) – Nor’easter

Tropic Moon, in the Nantucket marina.  An early winter photo.  That's snow
on the decks, and some ice in the water.  Faith Jones is on the left in the photo.

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

In February, Nantucket was hit by a nor’easter.  We didn’t know how much snow we’d gotten, but guessed it was around two feet.  No one could measure the depth.  The wind was so strong there were places completely blown free of snow, and other areas where the snow had drifted to six feet. 

After dinner on the night of the storm, Ed went to the marina to spend the night on Tropic Moon.  When he got there he discovered that our neighbor, Faith Jones, a 50-foot wooden boat, had broken loose.  It was banging against the pilings between the two boats.  The force had shifted one of the pilings, so our ropes had slackened, and Tropic Moon was hitting the dock.  Faith Jones had ripped out part of her deck and cap rail.  There was a big, gaping hole near the stern that matched the hole on the other side of the boat caused during an earlier storm. 

Ed got someone from another boat to help.  (Faith Jones’ owner was in California, and a local person was supposed to be watching the boat.)  The two of them worked to get Faith Jones retied.  It took them till 2:00 a.m.  Ed didn’t get much sleep that night because he was checking on things all night long.  That was a Friday.  We had Saturday off from work because of the storm, and Ed slept most of the day.

It was two or three days after the storm when Ed went back to the marina to check on Tropic Moon.  He noticed that Faith Jones was sitting very low in the water.  The waterline was six inches under water!  There was an old man on a barge houseboat nearby.  When Ed pointed out the problem to him, the man agreed that the boat was sinking – and then went about his own business…. 

Ed walked to the Chandlery and told Pete, the owner of the marine store.  Pete came to look at Faith Jones, but wouldn’t call the Coast Guard.  Instead, he phoned the local guy who was supposedly watching the boat.  When that man arrived, they called the Coast Guard, who came with two pumps, and pumped out the boat.  A hose inside Faith Jones wasn’t connected to anything, and had started taking in water.  The boat was definitely headed for the bottom.  Ed gave the man one of our wooden plugs to stop up the hole.

During the storm, another sailboat, unattended, had banged into the dock until it broke off a six-foot bowsprit.  There was quite a bit of damage around the harbor.  Thanks to having a steel hull, Tropic Moon only lost a little paint on the rub rail.  But she was suffering the effects of a long, cold winter.  The teak on the cabin top had contracted in the cold, and the varnish had lifted off in sheets.  The hull paint was peeling; Tropic Moon was looking a little shabby.  With a long list of boat projects, we had our work cut out for us, before we’d be able to leave in the spring.

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