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Libby Got Hit - Courtney Kirchoff Libby Got Hit - Courtney Kirchoff

Libby Got Hit

My Islander 30 MK II was hit on Tuesday by a 30 foot Norstar powerboat. Riley and I were ashore at the time of the impact. No one was hurt. A witness to the accident says the Norstar hit my boat three times under power. As the photo shows, she was hit with a great deal of force.

When I got to my boat, I first saw a note duct taped to my cockpit. I read it from my dinghy before climbing aboard. I then saw the lifeline hanging limply, followed it to the bent stanchion which had been shoved into the top cabin of my boat. I was horrorstruck. This boat is my home, she’s my gateway to adventure, and I’ve bonded with her. To see a hole like that in my boat sent me into panic. I sobbed.

I met the owners of the boat who hit me, and they have insurance. Right now I’m going through the claims process with their insurance company. Anyone who’s had to go through the claims process knows it’s a hassle. A number of steps have to be followed before action can be taken. At this time I’m not sure what will happen. The insurance surveyor has had a look, and I’ve had a representative from CSR Marine come take a look for an estimate. Whether the boat will be fixed or not is up to the insurance company.

This is devastating to me. I sincerely hope my boat can be repaired and returned to me whole. In the past few days my body has reminded me, not that I needed it, of all the stress this has put on me. I’ve had a constant headache, muscle spasms in my stomach (due to tension), tension in my shoulders, you get the idea. I’ve slept poorly, knowing that my home, my haven, has been violated and invaded and is broken. For the past few days I’ve been consumed with trying to get things done quickly. As soon as I step away from trying to heal my boat, my obsessive little mind spins, worries, wonders. I’m frustrated.

How did it happen?

Good question, and it’s been asked by all who know about the incident. Libby was anchored out in Liberty Bay, Poulsbo. She was far from the marina traffic. The incident occurred on a Tuesday afternoon, when the bay was anything but busy. If you were to consult a map, you’d see that Liberty Bay is one of the largest anchorages in Puget Sound. The powerboater said he had a engine or transmission problem. I’m not going to speculate what happened in a blog post. The above paragraph is all I know.

What’s wrong with Libby?

The damage is repairable, but whether the insurance company will cover it is still up in the air, and I may not know what they decide until next week. To sum up: the impact pulled the deck laminate from the wood core, so a lot of deck work needs to be redone and the hardware on the deck re-bedded. The cabin top needs a fiberglass repair, and since the impact blew right though the cabin top, there’s a lot of interior wood work that needs replacing. Then of course there’s all the finishing off, to make the boat appear as though it was never struck. Those are the highlights.

What am I doing now?

Trying to keep the process moving as quickly as possible, and then trying not to freak out when I’m not busily working on the process. Libby is my first boat, therefore I’m new to boating accidents and what happens next. One of the first things I did was seek out advice from trusted sailing communities, and I got some. Lots, actually, and I’ll be forever grateful to all of those who chimed in with how to best go about this. I’m just at the beginning of the process, but having educated advice from people who’ve been through this before, is fantastic.

I’m also keeping a daily log of everything, taking photos, and trying to be calm.

What’s next?

It’s too soon to say for sure. It could all be okay, the boat will be hauled out and worked on, then splashed down a couple of weeks later. There’s also a possibility that she might be totaled, in which case I will be on the look out for a new boat, or may salvage Libby and make repairs. There’s little point in speculating until I know more, but it is good for me to prepare for one way or the other.

I can’t go sailing anytime soon, what with there being a hole in the cabin. I had been planning a voyage up to the San Juan Islands in August, and it’s possible I still might be able to go. A frustrating aspect of all this is not knowing what will happen to my home.

Those who already know about this incident have offered so much love and support, I’m extremely grateful. I appreciate continued prayers, positive thoughts and words. I need them right now. Hopefully, hopefully, this will all turn out well, she’ll be repaired and returned, and life will go on. It’s horrible that it had to happen at all, especially now, during prime sailing season when it’s warm and bright. But it could’ve also been worse: I could’ve been on the boat and tossed in the hit, or the powerboater could’ve been uninsured.

I’ll update this blog when I know more.

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Copyright 2018. Courtney Kirchoff.