I tried every possible idea I could think of to save my beloved boat, Restless Spirit. To me, she was more than ‘just a boat that can be replaced’, she was my dream, my adventure, my new life. Maggie and I had talked about our new life with her many months before we finally met her, and having to finally tell Maggie there is no way I can save her was one of the hardest things I have had to do. Not only did I have to deal with my own desolate feelings, but the tears and those same feelings of my five year old who thinks her mum can do anything if only I try harder.
I was so hopeful when I saw her the day after Hurricane Irma swept through our community. She wasn’t missing, she wasn’t in a murky underwater grave, she was on the hard but physically damaged. She wasn’t placed too gently, had her rig taken out by our neighbor, landed on her port keel which was completely broken, and her starboard keel ‘looked as though a bus had driven through it. I maintained hope for 15 weeks before every door that I tried to open was slammed shut in my face. My biggest feat was getting her off Tortola for repairs and to find a boat builder which the correct skill set to rebuild her. I thought I had found a way to get her off the Island with the help of new friends that were instrumental in getting Maggie back from St Croix. They were vying for a contract (and got it) with the government for salvage removal with a barge from the States but with the pressure from the insurance company needing me to make a quick decision after they had dragged their heals for months it unfortunately wasn’t going to work due to lack of cradles for her and the amount of salvage they need to dispose of with every run. To say I was beyond bitterly disappointed is an understatement.
I reached out to John the General Manager of Gunboats for advice. Leave her, he advised. She may cost you more money than you have to repair her, you have to transport her from the BVI to NC and it will be expensive, eating into your money, think of the time frame of repairs, when do you want to get up and running? Her repairs are extensive, and sure you will find ‘someone’ who will tell you they can do it, but they will not have your best interests at heart. I will help you, but I don’t recommend it. To repair the port keel, they have to completely gut the hull, rip out the galley and get to her belly from the inside to remount a new keel. But my attachment to her was strong, I didn’t want to let her go. John gave me the name of a boat builder on St Croix who were up and running after Hurricane Maria but alas, after numerous emails to various people at this company, I never received a reply back to see if they were able to help. A new rig (mast, boom and standing rigging) is $60-$70,000 so I reached out to our friend Scott who has the same boat to see if his was a CTL and if I could buy his still standing rig, but he was caught up in the insurance web and with time ticking that avenue also closed.
With Village Cay harassing me every week to get my boat moved off their docks, along with monthly dockage bills to pay, the insurance company finally got with one of the salvage guys to remove her. With the amount of time it had taken, the insurance didn’t want to pay Nanny Cay for the exorbitant, hiked up prices of yard space ($2,800 per month), so they decided to ‘hot patch’ and float her instead of hauling her to dry land. Hot patching is taking plywood and fiberglass and filling up the hole. It is a temporary measure to say the least and of course, with RS having such a massive hole under her keel, she started to leak and I was not on Island to oversee and maintain her. Time now was the essence and I was quickly running out of options.
My last chance was talking to my friend the boat broker to see if he could buy her, get her to St Maarten, repair her and I could buy her back from him. He kept my hope alive for another 48 hours, but he too was advised to leave her as the repairs were extensive. I am not sure of the fate of Restless Spirit, but it is looking as though she may be broken down for hardware at this point, engines, winches, etc.
With all hopes dashed, I am left to remember my short time with her with such fondness, respect and tender love. She opened my eyes to a new way of life with my daughter, she kept our guests safe and happy, and we dreamed of adventures to come. She was instrumental in our new business, our new life and became a part of our family. We gave a tired old girl a lot of tender loving care and a new lease of life and in return she gave us her everything, her safety, her sturdiness and her soul. We will miss you Restless Spirit and we will always remember you in your former glory.