Last spring, we crossed the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean
. One beautiful evening we were anchored in a bay in Menorca when smoke started coming from the engine
room. Within about fifteen minutes which included two attempts to extinguish the fire, we abandon ship with no more than the clothes on our body. From a neighboring boat
, we watched in shock as our boat
and everything we owned, burned practically to the waterline. Eventually she sank.
You can read the details at our blog, and about our ongoing challenge to rally ourselves and decide how to continue our adventure.
le grand voyage
Go back to September to read about the fire.
Several lessons learned:
1) I had only insured the boat for $75,000 since that is what I bought her for seven years before. I had put in about $30,000 in equipment
and improvements. Before I departed my agent asked me if I wanted to increase the coverage amount. She had to change carriers for me, since my previous carrier didn't cover ocean voyages, so my premium had doubled to just over $2,000. So I told her "no." I said, "The only reason I need insurance
is when I scratch some million dollar yacht. Or I bang into a dock
and break something for five grand. The only time you need full coverave is for when the boat sinks. And when does that ever happen? Never!"
I wish the crow could have at least been plucked before I had to eat it.
I now have received full coverage. My agent was great because she fought the company to get me an additional two percent due to confusing language in their policy.
2) All that safety
preparation that we do ... it's not wasted, or exaggerated. Go ahead, be a safety
freak. I was. And from now on, I'll probably be even more so.
3) The required two one-pound extinguishers that are always a nuisance and ugly to mount and in the way ... get more. And replace the ones that you have with two-pounders. I emptied both and they felt like little squirt guns
4) The boat was salvaged and inspected by an investigator. It was too far gone to determine what the cause was. The investigator told me that almost all boats that sink are lost
to faulty or aging wiring
which lead to fire. His best guess is that our fire started with the wires to the starter or alternator
. Not just any old wiring
, but something that uses a lot of juice. Someone else told me that old starters can get stuck in the open position and heat up the wires. From now on, I will be replacing my starter motor
every five years.
5) I had some valuables in waterproof Pelikan boxes. Mostly just because I didn't want my documents to get wet when going ashore to clear in with officials. Next time, my back up drives for our computers
will go in one too. Lost
all my data for 12 years, because the backups were in a non-waterproof box.
6) We called a really fancy data-recovery operation in California
and shipped them our drives from Germany
. They said it was too bad we let our drives dry out. Next time: If your drive falls in the water
-- especially salt water
-- do not let them dry out. Keep them wet. For shipping
, wrap them in celophane. Most damage to disks is done when the salt
crystals dry on the hard
disks. And especially if you try to start up the dried disk, the reading head
scratches all the salt
along the disk.
Well, that's all for now.
Take care and fair winds,