First off: I am fine. Tie Fighter is fine.
When I left for Seattle on Saturday afternoon, there were a dozen boats – possibly a couple more – floating just off of Kitsilano Beach. When I returned on Thursday, there were only two remaining in the water; Tie Fighter and a small, unnamed blue-hulled sailboat that I frankly don’t remember whether or not it was here when I left.
Of the other boats, two (Theresa on ‘And-E’ and Ryan on ‘Helen Kate’) escaped to False Creek – but seven of the others were washed ashore, with one of those smashed to pieces on the beach and another holed by the rocks and sunk. The popular news outlets reported three sailboats on the beach, but by my tally seven boats dragged their anchors and hit the shore. One boat, a large steel tug, fetched up against Randy’s boat and forced her much further up the beach, making it difficult for him to get ‘Tuesday Sunrise’ back into the water. The tugboat was apparently gone by the morning, possibly due to help from the Coast Guard, or perhaps it never went too hard aground and they were able to motor off without assistance. Earlier today I saw this scene; a front-end loader helping to dig out the area under the ‘Tuesday Sunrise’ keel so that hopefully come high tide she’ll be able to slip back into the water.
Bob’s boat, the name of which I cannot remember, was not so fortunate. His anchor slipped and he was blown ashore, but the waves pummeled his home-built Piver trimaran literally to pieces. There’s no salvaging the wreck; he is out of a home. Speaking with Shauna this morning, she mentioned that she had run into a girl on Commercial Drive carrying a pirate flag, and the girl told her that she’d taken the flag from a wrecked sailboat on Kitsilano Beach. Shauna immediately recognized the flag as being from Bob’s boat – personally, I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to steal from a wrecked vessel when there is obviously a salvage operation going on! I can’t help but compare that girl’s actions with someone coming upon a burning house with people running in and out saving as much as they can, and that someone taking a souvenir from the pile of rescued items. Had I run into this girl on Commercial Drive I would not have been polite, to say the very least.
Tie Fighter held up to the storm admirably, with the only casualty being the fraying of the anchor rode and the rub damage to the hull nearby. This isn’t as trivial as it would appear, however – the rode itself is a 250′ piece of heavy nylon rope worth probably $350-$400 new, but the rubbing has worn through one of the three strands, rendering it pretty much useless. This could have been avoided by adding what sailors call “chafing gear”, which usually amounts to a short length of old, used fire hose, cut lengthwise and lashed onto the anchor rode where it chafes against the boat. If the anchor rode had frayed through the second and third strands, there is no question, Tie Fighter would have joined the other boats on the beach – or perhaps been wrecked on the rocks! I rarely have more than 100′ of rode in use, so I will be able to cut the rode in half and use the unfrayed portion, but the rode will still need to be replaced in the near future.
Inside Tie Fighter there was almost no sign of anything having happened at all. The dishes in the sink were sitting a bit differently, but none were broken, the chess set and playing cards were on the salon bench instead of on the windowsill where I left them – nothing serious. I think partly this is due to my having been bitten once before; sailing through rough weather only to return below to find all of my tools spread over the floor of the cabin, and having to spend twenty minutes repacking my drill bits and socket sets. Now almost everything I own is compartmentalized using tupperware-ish plastic bins, which fit neatly into the lockers and don’t move around much even in the heaviest weather.
Overall, I dodged a serious bullet. Still, this is twice in a row now that I’ve been away on shore when the serious northwesterlies have hit, and part of me feels like I’ve missed out! However, when the 20kn winds from the northwest blew up again this morning at 5am and the boat jumping around in the 1m waves prevented me from sleeping, I realized that while perhaps it would have been interesting to be out here in near-hurricane winds, it wouldn’t have been anything you could call “comfortable”. Sooner or later I’ll be forced to face that weather, so there’s no sense wishing hardship on myself for no reason.