|Note that the hole in the bow is the bow thruster and not the hold that sank our boat.|
Those of us who live on boats know that they are more than "just boats". They become an extension of us, a part of our family and they become our home. Our boats weather storms and rough seas, they deliver us to safe harbor and new horizons. They are dreams and adventures and hopes and wonder all molded into a shiny, fiberglass hull. Most live-aboards meticulously care for their boats, as not doing so can become a matter of life and death... We are intimate with their bellies, their quirks, and how they need to be handled "just so" in certain situations. We fall in love with them and refer to them as a "she". Most of us treat them as such, with tender love and respect...We become very attached to our boats because of the tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears we put into them. To boaters, our vessels are not inanimate objects, they have souls...
Ours was no different.
Due to the fact that our beautiful Tayana, Legato, was a new-to-us boat, she was unable to take us on all the adventures we wished for her, the trips we had planned for this coming season and beyond... She was taken from us too soon. But our short time with her didn't dampen our love of her; just as it doesn't take long for a mother to fall in love with a newborn baby, falling in love with a boat happens quickly. She was to be our "forever" boat (if there is such a thing) and she was about as close to perfect for us as we could have imagined. She was strong and safe, she sailed wonderfully and she was beautiful. She was soooo beautiful. What do they call it? "House proud?" Yeah, I was "boat proud". We loved her so much. We were very happy living in her cozy belly.
Of all the things I imagined - even worst-case scenario style - I never imagined her sinking.
After Irma struck and we were able to confirm our loved ones and friends were safe, we were able to focus on what exactly happened to Legato. As word and images began to trickle out of our home marina of Nanny Cay, it became apparent that our boat was not in the tangled mess of masts and hulls pushed ashore. "We can't see your boat anywhere" our friend wrote us. "We are so sorry. We have been looking." And, despite a few folks (Scott included) holding out the *sliver* of hope that she'd be found somewhere else entirely, we all knew deep down that she'd sunk.
|As pictures like these emerged from Nanny Cay, it became clear our boat was not afloat. Note the 60 foot catamaran flipped over on land like a toy.|
They found her
I'm so sorry
She's been under this whole time."
She paused and then finished with:
"I took a picture but let me know when you're ready"
I told her I was ready. But I wasn't ready.
How can one be ready to see their beloved home in such a state? I immediately burst into tears as I saw the sorry picture of our home and a well of emotion that had been in hiding for the previous few weeks opened up with a vengeance.
|The first picture I saw of our boat after Irma, she is being lifted off the bottom here. Hardly recognizable.|
What happened? I wondered as I looked at the wreck of carnage that was once our home. What did her in? Was it our own rig? The rig of another boat? A piling from the broken docks? Maybe it was the corner of one of those cement blocks that were found all over the marina? Those used to be in the water...What *was* it?
The answer to these questions will likely never be known, but it is clear that something punctured her starboard side, just at the waterline. That hole - such a seemingly small yet incredibly significant thing - was what took down our boat and all our belongings inside of her. Have you ever seen water rushing into a boat from a hole below the waterline? The force is incredible and terrifying from even the smallest puncture and it's amazing how quickly water will accumulate. I imagine that fateful moment of impact and how quickly water flooded in, filling our boat at an alarming rate. Our bilge pump wouldn't even have put a dent in it...but our newly installed high water alarm might have sounded for a few moments before it, too, was under. Our boat went down fast, that much is certain. I imagine the water rising, covering all our rugs that I so carefully selected, the floor boards floating up, releasing all the contents kept underneath them. I imagine the water quickly submerging the girl's toy box, their dollies and blocks joining in the frenzied floating fray, and water rising up past the settees and to our bookshelf... All the electronics, the crafting cubby and the pictures on our walls ...I imagine the chaos and swirling water and debris down below as even greater mayhem reigned outside. And I imagine her going down, settling on the murky bottom to die with a soft thud.
|A few inches higher and she might have still stayed floating...|
While at first I was confused why no one could find a sign of our boat for a solid month after the storm, it became clear later when the diver who found her told Scott that there is only one foot visibility at the moment, and that they are locating boats on the bottom by touch. He met Scott, had a beer with him at the beach bar and offered his condolences. "When I found your boat, I put my hands on her and thought, 'Damn, this was a nice boat'" he told him. And she was. She was a really, really nice boat - and a very comfortable and lovely home. And even though a boat is replaceable, we grieve the loss.
As much as Irma took from us, we are among the lucky. We are alive and healthy and young. We were insured and as such, our "stuff" can and will be replaced, and - yes (spoiler alert!) - we will eventually get another boat. It's amazing how something like this puts a whole new perspective on life and what is important. At my lowest moments post-Irma I would immediately think, "But what if I lost a child today? I would then wish for where I am right now..." Suddenly, losing our house, livelihood and things - while shitty - didn't seem like a big deal. Things can be replaced, lives can be rebuilt and communities can heal... I am grateful that we are/were so lucky. We have an amazing support network around us, a fantastic community to return to and we have resources at our disposal. While we mourn the loss of the beautiful home we lost and all she took down with her, we will cherish the memories as we look forward to what lies ahead... This is a single chapter in the story of our life...the adventures will continue.
RIP s/v Legato
Lost to Hurricane Irma
September 6, 2017
|Scott has been going aboard almost daily to try to salvage things. Not easy as the boat is at a 45 degree angle.|
|So sad to see such a mess and imagine all the garbage this one single boat has produced.|
|A very sorry state for what was once such a regal and beautiful boat.|
|The tangled mess of lines and rigging is hard to even comprehend. It gives you a tiny idea of Irma's power|
|Legato in what has become the boat graveyard at Nanny Cay.|