Saturday, October 15, 2011

Agropoli – Day 6 – 12 October

[Kyle]The recovery coordinator Bruno arrived at 9:00am with another man (Niki) and two shovels and started digging out a path so Footprint could be towed into deep enough water for a diver to attach flotation. A much larger gasoline powered pump was brought aboard which emptied both hulls within twenty minutes. Footprint slowly leveled and rose to within a few inches of her normal waterline. The CG and the fishing/towboat arrived. It was a much easier matter to get the towline on with almost no surf to fight, and the fishing boat much closer to shore. With Footprint floating again, it took only the slightest pull to get her off the beach.

Digging out and floating Footprint

A diver attached 1000 kilos of flotation. With the petrol bilge pump running, the towline was shortened and Footprint was towed backwards the short ride into harbor. It’s weird, but I had the thought that it felt good to be at sea again.

The fishing boat tows Footprint away from the beach and into the harbour

Once near the crane, she was detached from the fishing boat and towed with a smaller workboat up to the craning slip. Straps were attached and she was hauled out and blocked. I was really surprised she was still strong enough to handle the stresses of being hauled out, particularly since the crane configuration put the straps far from the usual lifting points and the damage to the hulls at the usual lifting location. Amazingly the diver in charge of the flotation stayed in the water with the boat for the whole journey, only leaving once the buoyancy was removed at the dock on lifting the boat.

Finally Footprint makes it to the crane and out of the water

With Footprint out of the water, and the water out of her, we were able to finally get a good look at the extent of the damage. It didn’t seem to look as bad as I had feared. The port hull has two or three substantial holes caused by the rocks on the beach that first night. The port bow is crushed badly and the port rudder has been essentially broken off and in pieces, dangling by the last unbroken part. No obvious breach of the starboard hull can be seen from the outside, although there is still a huge crack at least half the boat length visible under both floorboards from the inside (with both sides of the crack clearly separated). The starboard rudder is still basically intact minus large chunks that were missing from the case. Both hulls, centerboards and rudders have large gouges in many places and, of course, little bottom paint remains.

Some of the damage up close, heartbreaking

In the interior, the most major damage visible were the long cracks in each hull under the floor. The battery compartment is a fused blob of corrosion. All three water tanks (2 main plus the hot) have come free. Sand is everywhere, particularly in the port bilge and stern lockers.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon cleaning out and cataloging all of the wet piles of debris inside and seeing what needs to be claimed for replacement and what might be recoverable to our growing store of things in the apartment.

Once it was too dark to work any more, we carried what we could across town to our apartment. We were all worn out and grubby and it felt like we had hardly made a dent in the mess. Still, our apartment seems to be suddenly full. We have only been able to save perhaps a third of the items in Footprint, but as I look around the apartment, I’m already wondering how it all fit in that little boat. Amazingly we have rescued and recovered all the important stuff, all that is damaged and lost is easily replaceable. We are very lucky indeed.

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