SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.
One of the hardest things we have ever had to do was leave Eurisko. I guess I should say TWO of the hardest things, since we have now done it twice. Shortly after we returned to the country in 2010 (has it been that long??) we put her on the hard and did some travel by land yacht. Then, earlier this summer, we again left her in order to do some shallow water adventuring in our new-to-us Bolger Sharpie, Walküre.
Since both times we left Eurisko it was for an undetermined length of time during hurricane season, where to put her on the hard was an agonizing decision. Or at least it was the first time. The second time was a no-brainer. One of us asked the other one day, "We are taking Eurisko to Indiantown, I assume?" To which the other responded, "Of course." Of course, indeed.
The problem with sitting in south Florida looking for a place to store your boat for hurricane season is that hurricanes affect SO MUCH of the area around you. It's not like we could simply sail her a few hundred miles and she would be safe. If we were in St. Croix we would simply sail to Trinidad. A five-hundred-mile run to a hurricane hole would be welcomed right about now. Instead, we have thousands of miles to travel in any direction before we would be safe from hurricanes. So instead of sailing her far up the US East Coast, we decided to take her as far inland as we could. Indiantown Marina was the safest marina, farthest from the coast (either one) where we could put Eurisko on the hard.
When we first mentioned our decision (after weeks of staring at charts, researching, calling, and agonizing) to a few boater friends, we were shocked at their reaction. "But boats fall over there." WHAT? Back to the drawing board, we thought. We are not storing our boat somewhere with that kind of reputation. And then, after we looked a little more closely at those claims, we remembered a saying I've used often: "Reputations change more slowly that reality." When a population gets an idea in their head, it becomes nearly impossible to change it, whether the idea is based on fact or rumor, right or wrong.
What we discovered is that, yes, some boats stored on the hard at Indiantown Marina have fallen over during hurricanes over the past decade. Specifically, in 2004 they were hit with two hurricanes. A total of 20 some boats toppled during those two storms. Then, in 2005, the meanest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin, a category 5 monster named Wilma smacked into Florida, wreaking havoc across the State. During that storm over 30 boats fell over. An important statistic that was not mentioned when our choice was being questioned was that there were OVER 500 BOATS stored on the hard during each of those hurricanes. That is fewer than 6% of the boats.
But you can't talk statistics and probability when it comes to possibly losing your boat. For us to walk away from Eurisko, to get in that RV or van with all the stuff we care about most and drive away from our home of over a decade, to leave her to fend for herself in unknowable conditions that may come her way, we had to know in our hearts, where it matters the most, that we had done all we could for her. And like Dave says, "So she falls over. I can fix a hole. I can't fix sunk."
Indiantown was not our cheapest option, but for some things money is not the issue. Their rates have not increased in the past 6 years, and they are upfront about their charges, but their rates vary too much to cover here. (Their site is quite comprehensive: www.indiantownmarina.com.) The feature that finally made our decision feel right was that they require every boat in the storage yard to be strapped to the ground with at least two straps. We bought two more straps and secured Eurisko with four tie downs. Not only do we know we are less likely to fall over, but our neighbors are equally secure. At 34 feet, Eurisko is supported by 10 jack stands, each with plywood under it to keep them from sinking into the soft Florida sand that passes for dirt in these parts.
When we get back to Eurisko there will be a charge to move her to the work yard since no work is allowed in the storage area. Rates in the work yard are $25 per day up to two weeks. After that they increase to $30 a day. While I consider this to be outrageous, it does make you work more quickly and gets you out of the yard and back sailing sooner.
Since we have also spent some time staying at the marina (on the hard and in the water), we have gotten to know the staff. The office staff and yard guys are all friendly and have that rural Florida eagerness to help. The facilities are well maintained; there is an air conditioned kitchen, showers, laundry, lending library, and wifi. Town is a short (albeit usually HOT) walk with a few restaurants, a hardware store, Radio Shack, gas stations, and a grocery store. You can also take a shuttle into Stuart where you will find every store imaginable.
Leaving Eurisko was not easy. The only way we could bring ourselves to do it was to know that we had done everything for her that we could. Now we just have to wait and see what the next few months bring.
Hurricane Isaac gave us a glancing blow, but we have seen "possible tropical storms" become major hurricanes overnight, so we were prepared for a Cat 3. TUESDAY we'll share how we prepared and how we fared. Happy Labor Day. Be safe.
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