Let me apologize in advance for this long and rambling post.
I want to personally thank everyone who supported this with their positive vibes and thoughts and yes, even prayers. I want to personally thank Andrew
, my business partner, whom I bounce all my ideas off of and who worked with me to stabilize the rigging, unload the boat as well as anchoring
and winching. Rocketman
, who along with Chris
, a dear longtime friend, and others who went well above and beyond the call of duty to get this accomplished by having to deal with the removal
of the filthy junk that this boat was stuffed with, as well as donating material and gear
There are all the sailors that agreed to anchor
their boats and winch
the "Promise" off. Especially Larry
on the Morgan
38'. who not only anchored and winched, but also assisted in the unloading. Thanks to Celeste
and crew that manned the "Jenny Lee".
There is Avb3, Smackdaddy, DOJ,
and others that I'm probably forgetting at the moment, who assisted from afar with the flyers and the website and all the Facebook and Craigslist stuff.
There is the local Gulfport community that really stepped up to the plate, including "Smokin' J's Texas BBQ
who unsolicited, brought enough food
to feed all the volunteers. There is Elite Marine
who loaned me the slings that we wrapped around the hull
. There is Neptune Towing
who let us borrow two air bags that we fortunately didn't need to use. Minuteman Press
who printed the flyers that Smack created.
, a firefighter and WTC hero, who was in charge of first aid but spent most of the day working as hard as anyone in the effort. Thank you to Lil
whose garage is filled with Jay's stuff as I type. Thank you to Gulfport Storage
who donated a month rent for a unit for the rest of the stuff. Thanks to John from Gulfport U-haul
for the discount on the truck rental. Thank you to Dan
from the Clearwater Yacht Club who donated a 35# CQR
and to all the others that donated line, chain and anchors. Thanks to Margo
from the local WM who purchased a bilge pump
My immediate family, Jen,
my wife, and Liz,
my sister in law, who's life has been a hectic whirlwind the last week or so. Marcus and Laura
, my sister and brother in law, who interrupted their vacation
and drove here just for the day to help.
And to the local media
, especially Fox 13,
who was the first to help get the word out.
Just everyone. I'm so overwhelmed and grateful to everyone that I'm finding it difficult to put my thoughts down coherently.
Thank you all.
I know that I've left a lot of people out, many of whom I don't even know but who were there helping. People like Paul, a guy with a really thick accent who is built like an ex-linebacker that frequents the beach with his family, and insisted on helping. As a matter of fact, his whole family insisted on helping. Even his daughter was out there pushing. There was an 81 year old fellow with a bandage on one hand who was out there pushing on the bottom of that boat.
I want to thank James O'Rielly,
the city manager, and Mayor Yakes,
who, by bending the rules a bit allowed this to happen.
Forgive me if I've left anyone out. I'm sure I have.
As things stand today, the boat is the farthest boat at anchor
from the beach. It has no anchor light and no bilge pump
. I filled every through hull
with expandable foam, including the cockpit
drains, because I didn't know the condition of the seacocks, hoses or clamps and I didn't want it taking on water
right away. So, if we have a lot of rain, the cockpit
will overflow into the boat.
The boat is not anchored legally and in my opinion, it should be towed to a boatyard and put on the hard
. If Jay is interested in making it a seaworthy
vessel, that work should be happening in a boatyard or some other private property, not off the coast of Gulfport or any other community.
If I were the city of Gulfport, I would offer to waive the fines if the boat is hauled out somewhere. But all I can do is suggest that.
Numerous times during the week, as we were unloading the boat, we were challenged by so called friends of Jay who wanted to make sure we had his permission to do what we were doing. Few of them were very friendly and fewer still offered to help.
Now is the time for them to step in. If they are really friends of Jay and have the slightest bit of compassion for the man, they would step in and prevent a re-occurrence of this situation. At the very least, they would make sure that the boat is set up with a bilge
pump so that it's doesn't sink. But, if they really cared, they would attempt to get Jay to get a firmer grasp of reality.
There is a donation site. I don't know how much money
has been given so far, but if I have anything to say about it, that money
should be used to compensate all those who have incurred out of pocket expenses for this. For example, Rocketman, who not only gave four days of his life, but also had to pay for the fuel
to drive here, the fuel
and wear and tear on his vessels that were instrumental to the recovery. Or Lil, who paid for the U-haul truck, etc.
If there is any thing left after these people are paid back, then I believe it should be used to create a fund for the prevention of this sort of thing in the future.
Perhaps the website that was created for this project
could be redirected to this end as well. But that's not my forte.
I feel good that we've proven that the sailing community, the local community, and just people in general can still come together to accomplish things.
I hope the idea catches on.
And open letter to "Capt'n (and I use the term very loosely) Jay.
Sir, I don't know you. I met you last Thursday I believe, on my third visit to your vessel. I found you sitting on a bar stool drinking while a man named Dave was trying to free your boat from the beach. Though he was actually making the situation worse, I found it appalling that you could sit there in the bar while another man was trying to help you. When I asked you about that, I remember quite distinctly how you disparaged the man.
I told you at the time that I was confident that I could get your boat off the beach if you would let me do it the proper way. That meant that the boat would have to be emptied. Your response was that I just didn't understand the situation. I was blunt and I was borderline rude in my dealing with you since you are the one who obviously didn't understand the situation. You finally relented and agreed to let me do the job.
The next day I instructed you to acquire boxes and start packing up your valuables. Surprisingly, you partially complied. When I showed up that evening, I instructed you to get aboard and oversee the passing over the side of the boxes. A few minutes later I saw you walking down the beach with your phone to your ear and one of your "friends", the man sitting on the bar stool next to you when I met you, was aboard throwing the boxes on the sand. When one of these boxes burst open and some cd's or dvd's spilled out, you went ballistic and ordered everyone away. You said that you didn't want your stuff ruined and that you could always get another boat. I pointed out that you could also get more cd's too and that if you had followed my instructions no one would have been throwing your stuff over the side.
After I was able to calm you down sufficiently, we continued to unload your boat and we removed two pickup truck loads which we placed in Lil's garage.
Later that night, you were in an altercation that resulted in your injuries. I'm sorry that you were injured, but the blessing is that you were no longer an impediment to the job I was trying to accomplish. (I won't relate what the police officer told me that led to the man punching you)
As you know, your vessel is now afloat again. I saw that you gave an interview to the media and I know that you've spoken to a number of your "friends" since this has happened. I'm not surprised you've not bothered to call me.
Jay, I know that you are a veteran. I thank you for your service. But, beyond that, all I know about you is what I've read and what I've personally experienced in my direct dealings with you.
I know that life is difficult and I don't know what has happened in your life that has brought you to the place you find yourself today. But sir, you are not a sailor. You are not a responsible pet owner. The way you treated that dog bordered on cruelty. I would go so far as to say that based on what I have personally witnessed as to the state of your living conditions, you aren't even able to care for yourself. You need help. And not material help, you need counseling. I met a young lady on the beach while we were working that claimed to be your step daughter. She told me that you have alienated your family because you are an alcoholic. You sir, need an intervention.
I'm glad that your boat is off the beach. I'm glad that the city of Gulfport isn't going to have to spend ten grand plus to do it. But the last thing I want to see is you going back to that boat and continuing your downward spiral.
A real sailor would put that boat in a yard and do the work that needs to be done. They would not be living in squalor anchored off a small community feeding everyone who will listen a line of bull crap that you are a sailor and that you are fixing the boat up to go cruising.
You have never sailed that boat and I have my doubts that you have ever sailed any boat. You may be able to fool your drink addled buddies down at the waterfront, but you can't fool me or the real sailors that got that filthy, cockroach infested vessel off the beach.
You need to stop with the sob stories. Stop with the "poor me" crap and get your act together. There are people online who are placing bets that you will be in the same situation in a very short time. I find it difficult to disagree. Please Jay, I implore you. Prove us wrong. Stop drinking, listen to those who know more than you and who you've not driven away yet. And do it before it's too late.