Sunday, July 16th. Fleetwood’s Fate.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 16th, 2017

But first an update on my back surgery. I was released on Saturday July 8th. after Friday’s surgery. I never needed any pain killers but still taking muscle relaxers. Frankly I have not felt any benefit from the operation yet, right this moment the opposite, but figure that will eventually come. And this all came at an inopportune time. Because I need to clean up the recovered “Fleetwood”. She was towed into Cape Charles Yacht Center marina on Monday the 9th. I rented a car on Tuesday to see the damage. She is repairable. But the uncertainty I am faced with is how I am going to pay the $19,000 recovery/towing bill. In my previous blog I mentioned that the young man, Jake, was going to dive and determine where the water was coming in from. He found a crack in the lower chine on the port bow, and made an attempt to close it with epoxy. He had an electric pump and generator with which he and his brother got “Fleetwood” afloat. But he had to abandon the effort by dusk because he did not have enough fuel to keep the generator going while towing the boat the 35 miles to Cape Charles. Now I was left with the only other option I had after several salvage companies had turned me down. For one the remote area and the possibility of un-exploded ordnance in this once bombing practice range.  The Ocean City, Md., Tow Boat US had found out what the maximum insured value of my policy was and they had me between a rock and a hard place. They had the pump and the float bags and towing equipment. They wanted $21,000 for the job. I ended up settling on $19,000. My maximum coverage is $ 18,900. I already paid Jake his very reasonable bill for his attempt and inspection, a little over $1,100. But I need to get the boat cleaned up in the interior to better determine the damage. I shall try to do this tomorrow. The harbor master at the marina lives not far from where I am staying in Chesapeake and he offered me a ride. Commuting from here to Cape Charles is costly, $13.00 each way for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tolls. If I retain possession and see my way to repair her, I shall stay on the boat, like I do in Green Cove Springs and enjoy the quaint old harbor town still glowing in its glory of the time this was a very busy railroad ferry junction.

I managed to recover some of my clothes and some my boat/personal papers.  Everything below decks is covered with a layer of mud/clay. The small 2 gallon diesel canister leaked and the smell of it is in everything. The cockpit floor grates and the engine hatch floated away, the solar panel fell off its frame mountings. All the wiring will need replacement a very tedious and time consuming prospect. The rudder post bent backwards and pushed the leading rudder edge into the bottom of the “sugar scoop”, making a difficult to repair hole.

One thing some experienced boater might be able to explain to me: The lower mast shrouds are loose, the uppers appear unchanged.  I am baffled. The lowers are attached to the same chain plates as the uppers.

Here are some of the pictures I took last Tuesday:

Heavy chafing from shell covered sandy bottom

Heavy chafing from shell covered sandy bottom

The underwater epoxy repaircrack with underwater epoxy

 

A disaster scene in the cabin

A disaster scene in the cabin

In Cape Charles

In Cape Charles

 

 

 

 

 

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