When Captain Paddy broke the news that Cat Maudy had sprung a leak…and water was coming in — I admit my first thought was getting OFF the sinking ship.
Sure enough, all of the little seals that are used to keep the water OUT of the engine compartment – BROKE – and now water is sloshing in. Paddy’s thinks we need to sail Cat Maudy 30 miles offshore up to Ft. Lauderdale – to get the boat hauled out. Yeah right. I’m going to knowingly get into a sinking ship…go offshore for 30 miles and tap my heels together 3 times….repeating “there’s no place like home”. This is way above my pay grade.
After getting over the initial shock that we are suddenly taking on water, the next step is trying to figure out how to STOP it from coming in. So, we dried up the water as best we could, in the engine compartment and watched. Every little wave bounce…forced new water in the starboard engine compartment. The seals around the engine are breached. There is nothing we can do to stop it while she sits in the water. Now what?
Surely there is a boat yard in Miami that can haul out Cat Maudy? Yes and no. There is a boat yard up the Miami river, with a crane that could lift CM outta the water. Unfortunately, the guys are more interested in PAINTING Cat Maudy rather than fixing the LEAK….so we weren’t too comfortable with their expertise. We continue to talk to everyone we know – only to determine that the boat yards we need — are located in Ft. Lauderdale, and not Miami. Going offshore is becoming the only option.
Going offshore on a sinking ship is not on my bucket list. I double checked. So, we prepped for the worst, and hoped for the best. The prep part includes purchasing a submersible pump…that can pump out upto 1100 gallons per hour. I tried to imagine 1100 gallons – and this seems like a lot. Paddy spent the night wiring up the kick-ass pump – while I re-read the life raft/ abandon ship instructions, reviewed the weather conditions for the umteenth time…and prepared a ditch bag. A ditch bag contains your most important belongings, i.e. everything you MUST keep — in the size of a knapsack. It is used when you need to “ditch” the boat. i.e. Abandon ship. Soxy, our cat could not understand why I was trying to stuff her in a bag.
Offshore weather conditions were calling for 8-12 knots of winds from the east. It turned out to be closer to 20 knots from the east – and the seas were quite lumpy. My job, among other sail trimming and hoisting tasks…was to check on the water leak every 15 minutes. The routine went something like this: I felt around the compartment door for water….held my breath….opened the door….no water gushed over the doorway….whew…..checked the water level….discovered the little pump is working like a champ…more whew…..and shut the compartment door. Ft. Lauderdale cannot come soon enough!
By mid-afternoon – Cat Maudy entered Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale. She is still afloat despite taking on water. We anchor in Lake Sylvia, near the New River – and exhale a huge sigh of relief. We are within reach of the boat yard now and wait in the queue to get hauled out….and repaired.