Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Puerto Del Ray - Puerto Rico - Hurricane Irma/Maria

Alexandre Uster von Baar

Dear Gary,

I am so sorry and heart broken to read your beloved Liahona was damaged during Hurricane Maria. Hopefully there is not more damaged than what you describe and she can be repaired.

I know how meticulous you are and again I want to thanks you so much for all your help on the forum, writing how to overhaul bow thruster, adjusting the bow thruster rigging, C-drive overhaul and so on.
Without all your articles, I probably would not have make it that long.

I hope we meet one day and you give me a tour of Liahona.
We have many points in common (I also fly and a few months ago even landed in St Barth)
Thank you so much for thinking and praying for and with me, I am very touched.

Not to go into personal issues, but the hotel which agrees on a $1500 monthly price, now is calling the deal of raising to $3,000 month (and we only have electricity, water and internet 4 hours/day).

I don’t think I mention, the insurance adjuster came by Thursday and told me it was a total loss. I am still to hear back from the insurance…

When I tied NIKIMAT, I gave enough slack to anticipate a 5 ft water surge.
Unfortunately, it was a direct hit (passing through the eye) and the wind ripped off the cleats from the marina and (at least) 1 from the boat.
When both cleats hold, it is the 7/8” dock line that broke… just insane.

Back to you, I am really sorry for you Gary, I hope with time Liahona will be back as beautiful as she was.

Sincerely, Alexandre


On Sat, 9/23/17, amelliahona <> wrote:

Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] Puerto Del Ray - Puerto Rico - Hurricane Irma/Maria
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 3:54 PM


Hi Amel family:
I have followed with
sadness and horror Alexandre's loss and odessy in St.
Martin and his struggle to survive since.  My story pales
in comparison so I haven't posted about my experiences
to our beloved Liahona (Amel SM 2000 #335) until now because
I just didn't know, until now.  
We have had Liahona at
Puerto Del Ray marina (PDR) for the last three hurricane
seasons.  The first year we hauled out in PR but I found
the storage yard a bit lacking and so after finding out that
the insurance premium was no different for being laid up
ashore vs being laid up in the water,  we laid up the boat
"in the water" both last year and again this year.
 I stripped her of sails as well as all rail mounted items,
the SSB antenna, bimmini etc.  I had multiple lashings on
the booms to the jib sheet cars etc. I rigged a web of 14
dock lines, many doubled up and all with fire hose chafe
gear to every cleat and pole in an extra wide slip.
 Liahona was  seperated by a 45 ft finger pier from a
large power yacht on starboard and there was no boat in the
slip to port.  I faced the boat east into the presumed
wind.  Water tight compartments sealed off, thru hulls
closed and 15 fenders and 4 fender boards deployed.  My
boat caretaker checked her just before Irma, charged the
batteries one final time (I don't leave the boat plugged
in continuously) and we prayed. She was full of diesel and
had 800 liters of water on board.
The south eyeball of Irma
passed 60 miles north of PDR and two days later when folks
could make it to the marina we were pleased to find only
some modest damage to the port aft rub-rail from chaffing up
against a pole.  The fender boards had been blown out of
position and that combined with line stretch left them
ineffective.  Nevertheless, this seemed to be mostly
cosmetic based on the single photo that I have available to
me.  Then came Maria.... 
The north eyeball of Maria
passed 16 miles south of PDR.  I feared the worst as I read
of Nikimat's fate.  My caretaker trimmed some dock
lines, and I put my faith in the fact that I was protected
by concrete piers and sat right behind a 20 foot very stout
sea wall with moles on both sides.  The night of landfall I
watched from my home in Utah as best I could via the
internet.  I watched until all the reporting stations
stopped sending (last wind I could find for Fajardo area was
98 mph), that was 2.5 hrs before Maria made landfall.  I
watched as the rain bands struck and then watched as the
radar failed.  Then there was virtual silence from the
island.  I feared that my boat caretaker might not have
survived.  52 hrs after Maria, Samuel called (he drove to
the San Juan Airport to get cell service) and indicated that
from afar (he wasn't able to gain access to the marina),
there we're many "vertical masts".  5
pictures from a distance showed some boats sunk and other
sitting on top of the docks or on top of other boats (report
is 26 sunk and many many more are heavily damaged, unknown
numbers toppled in the yard).  I scanned every news piece
for hints and clews of how bad it was.  Initially there was
not much news as there was no electricity etc.  On day 3, I
spied a HD video on YouTube from a helicopter crew that did
a brief flyover of the marina.  I saw a 2 second glimpse of
dock14 that I was able to freeze-frame and enhance to see my
boat afloat.  My hopes soared.  Due to the annihilation of
the cell phone system and power grid there was no further
word.  Gas is in short supply and Samuel believes soon the
roads will be littered with cars that are out of gas.
 Electricity isn't likely to be restored for months as
miles of concrete power poles are toppled onto roadways etc.
 More silence.  Just now today (23 sept 2017) Samuel
Moorefield called and in a brief cell call, before we lost
contact, he told me that surge in the marina was 6 feet.
 My boat floated up over the finger pier and smashed into
the power yacht (or vice-versa).  All the lifelines and
stanchions are smashed and mangled.  The masts are upright
but rigging integrity could not be confirmed.  Mostly dry
belowdecks except for some salt spray in the quarter berth
floor (perhaps from spray coming thru the gap in the
companionway closure).  Engine room is dry.  More rub-rail
damage to the port side,  bow and foredeck ok, 6 dock-lines
destroyed. One spring-line, chafed thru holding by "a
thread".    The hull is punctured but it is above the
waterline, (unknown if this was from cleats on the finger
pier or from flying debris).  Every fender is gone, every
fender board is gone, some of the ropes remain but the
fenders were ripped from their lines.  Amazingly the upside
down RIB is still lashed securely in place on the aft cabin
top.  All the winch covers are gone as is the winter
cockpit cover.  More damage reports will have to wait as I
lost cell contact with Samuel about this point.  Kind of
helpless to prevent further damage except to trim the
remaining dock lines.  I'll bet there isn't a
fender to be bought in Puerto Rico.
The wait resumes for what
is next but I know it will be far easier for me here in Utah
than for Alexadre or the poor folks in the Leewards that
have born the brunt of these two hurricanes.  I pray that
aid will come soon to those most in need.  Alexandre my
sincere prayers are for and with you, I can only slightly
imagine the pain and suffering. 
Lesson learned, surge is the problem for
a lay up in the water.  If and when there are functional
boatyards again, and when the thousands of damaged boats
that will fill the cue for repairs are dealt with, Liahona
somewhere in that line will be repaired, but I shan't
ever lay her up "in the water" again. 
Perhaps my experience will be of some
value to the membership. 
Sincerely,  Gary S. Silver   s/v
Liahona   Amel  SM 2000 335,  Farmington, Utah

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