Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Close Call and a New Addition to Pearl

A few days ago we experienced the worst thunderstorm we have been in since we moved onto Pearl. We watched as it come across the bay towards us feeling glad that we were securely tied to a dock and not one of the several sailboats out there getting swallowed up by the dark clouds and sheets of rain.

When it arrived over us it was amazing. Thunder and lightening was crashing all around us. The wind picked up rocking Pearl and for what felt like an eternity there were hailstones up to the size of golf balls pounding on our deck.

The next day we learned how close the lightning really was. About 300 yards from us there was a channel marker that took a direct hit. It originally looked something like this.

Now it looks like this.

That was too close! Why it would hit a wooden pole standing about 10 feet out of the water and not one of the hundred 60 foot tall metal masts that surrounded it is anyone's guess.

The interesting thing is that as we meet other cruisers, there are more than we ever expected that have taken a lightening hit and lost all their electronics as well as sustained hull damage. We hope our time doesn't come.

Now for the new addition to Pearl. Pearl came with a very good dinghy. However, we have had a love/hate relationship with it from the beginning. It is one of the strongest, sturdiest and most stable dinghys you can imagine but all those positives came with one big negative. Without the motor on it, our dinghy weighed over 300 pounds. When we are at anchor it is by far the dinghy to have. All the other cruisers wish they had one like it. When we are sailing, its a different story. When the conditions get rough that is just too much weight to have hanging off the stern of our boat. The davits that hold the dinghy are very robust but we feel they aren't robust enough to handle some of the rougher conditions we want to sail in. This has limited the type of conditions we are willing to go out in and thus limited our range.

We are replacing it with an aluminum bottom AB AL 10 that is about 140 pounds without the motor. It will travel on our stern a lot better and can still accommodate up to a 20 hp motor. It is lighter than the fiberglass / plastic bottom inflatable dinghies and doesnt mind being pulled up onto a beach that isn't all very smooth sand. There is no doubt we will miss our current dinghy every time we are at anchor but now we will be able to go offshore more often.

It was a fun day today unwrapping and setting up our new toy. Of course, Gayleen did all the work.

If you are ever in the market for a new dinghy, or life raft the folks at Lifeline Marine Safety in Cape Canaveral, Florida are amazing. We purchased the dinghy that had to be reserved on the next container from the manufacturer and had it shipped to us in Virginia without ever visiting their location. We hope to get to meet them the next time we head south.

Tomorrow they start fitting our new Bimini and enclosure. The addition of all around screens will make Gayleen very happy and extend our time outdoors into the evening when the mosquitos get frisky.

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