Some of the scarier moments onboard Sanctuary have been when we’re actually not onboard. Regardless of the preparations and precautions you take, things sometimes happen to the boat while we’re not there. This can often make it difficult to fully enjoy ourselves when ashore, but exploring our destinations is part of why we’re here, so we still try. At times when the weather makes a turn we drop whatever we’re doing and hustle back aboard, but sometimes even that’s not possible.
Recently during our family visit in Grenada we took an all-day island tour, and towards the afternoon the storm clouds moved in. As we rode the bus down the coast to where we are anchored the winds shifted around to the west as a strong rainstorm moved through, and we could only imagine what was taking place on board Sanctuary as she moved with the shifting wind and swells at anchor.
When we arrived at “De Big Fish” restaurant where our dinghy lay docked all day, we were approached by a friend who worked there to learn that a call on the VHF radio had recently gone out for “Sanctuary”. I immediately launched the dinghy from the restaurant’s dock and, accompanied a fellow cruiser anchored near us we raced out into the harbor to determine what had transpired during the storm.
As we approached Sanctuary the sight of our bow’s steel railing, called the “pulpit”, caused my stomach to twist in a knot. The upper bar was bent downward at a 45 degree angle, and we immediately knew the damage was not of our doing and that the repair would not be an easy one; nor would it be inexpensive.
The damage was pretty clearly caused by a charter boat that had anchored in our vicinity. Witnesses onboard neighboring boats told us that when the storm shifted winds around to the west, the boat anchored next to us turned too widely and our bow was caught under the overhang between the other vessel’s hulls, bending our pulpit’s upper rail.
Although the charter company admitted to moving their vessel that was very close to ours they initially wouldn’t admit any fault. But after bringing them out to see our damage and examining their vessel closely, they took full responsibility and promised to “make things right”.
The charter company employed the metal shop at the nearby boatyard to repair our pulpit and the shop promised to take care of it within a day because it concerned a safety feature. Since they consented to take care of the repairs we consented to remove and deliver the pulpit to the shop. Better that than have strangers crawling all over the boat. That’s Carrie wedged into the anchor locker to hold the nuts while I unscrew all of the bolts.
True to their word the shop had our pulpit fully repaired and back to us within a day’s time. We remounted the pulpit on the bow the following day, sealing the stanchion bases on the deck to guard against leakage.
Overall the charter company was very amenable, and except for the work of getting the pulpit on and off the boat, we figure this potentially thorny situation was resolved about as well as it could have turned out.