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.


  1. jakebrownson July 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Oh wow, I’m heartbroken seeing that photo. That must be completely devastating 🙁

  2. The Cambrians July 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Courtney, we’re really sad to see what’s happened to Libby and wish you the best of luck in the upcoming weeks as you work your way through the issue. Take care of yourself and keep following the wind … wherever it make take you.

    Stephanie, David and Sally (the Seadog)

    1. The Cambrians July 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      I mean … wherever it may take you. lol.

      1. Courtney July 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

        I had to read the first comment three times to find the typo. My mind filled in the correct wording! Thanks for your thoughts. I love this boat, and hope it all works out. This waiting thing is the worst. Patience was never a virtue I was blessed with. Say hi to David and Sally for me.

        1. HollywoodME July 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

          Even after reading Courtney’s reply I still had to read the first paragraph 3 times to find the mistake as well. I even though, “Oh she must have edited it and fixed it!”

          Court, I was actually shocked when I read what happened to Libby. I came to your site to be jealous of your life some more, and was extremely taken back. I know me saying “I’m sorry that has happened to you” doesn’t mean much, but you seriously have someone in Oklahoma sending you every ounce of positive energy, good thoughts, and prayers possible. If nothing else, I hope you at least find out what’s going to happen soon if not actual repairs, payments, etc.

          I’m glad you and Riley weren’t hurt in this accident. If anything happens to you, how are we, your readers, supposed to know? Scary thought.

          1. Courtney August 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm

            Thanks, buddy. One of my favorite things to do is make others jealous, and how terrible that I can’t do so for a while. I’m glad neither Riley nor I were aboard for the ramming, we could’ve been seriously hurt. The ramming was quite surprising for such a large anchorage and during daylight hours, and at such speed. As for keeping my readers updated, well I suppose I should leave the username and password to this blog with someone I trust? Thinking of my mother trying to figure out how to post something in WordPress…that’s funny.

  3. Randy July 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Courtney, I know how emotional this can be ( I posted pics of our similar collision on SA) but I can tell you that you can and probably will come out even better on the other end. It’s a project you weren’t planning on but I’m sure you will keep it organized and handle it well. Be as proactive as you can, don’t let the insurance companies drag their feet, look for a repair shop you are comfortable with and don’t be afraid to accept the generosity of the sailing community around you. Try to imagine how you would feel if you could help someone else in a similar situation, that’s how the folks around you feel.

    1. Courtney July 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Randy, thanks for your comment. I’ve got CSR Marine running numbers and interfacing with the insurance company’s surveyor. If approved, they get the work, and I hear they’re fantastic, hence me involving them early in all this mayhem. I’m being as squeaky a wheel as I can. My sailing neighbors, friends, and online sailing communities have offered so much love and support. I’m in limbo with this right now, not knowing if she’ll be repaired or totaled.

  4. Pingback: Libby Got Hit | Courtney Kirchoff

  5. Rado July 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Terrible news – not what I want to hear about happening to Libby, or any boat! Hope the liable parties come though, and do so quickly. If it’s any consolation, I don’t think the San Juans in August are anything you are missing out on – it’s a zoo, with accidents like this one lurking at every corner. Better go there later on, or go to the South Sound instead for some peace. Praying that all turns out well here, also that fuel goes to $20/gal and GPS gets retired so idiots are kept off the water!

  6. s/v Eolian July 28, 2012 at 7:09 am

    This is terrible news and I am very sorry to hear it.

    It boggles my mind that Libby, way over on the other side of Liberty Bay, could be somehow in the way of a powerboat. And three times at that.

    If CSR does get your bid, I think that means you’ll be over here on this side of Puget Sound. Should this come to be, please stop in at Eolian for a beer, glass of wine, or dinner – or all three.

    s/v Eolian

    1. Courtney August 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      I hope I’m over there for CSR to make repairs. Of course I don’t know if or when that will happen, but I want it to. If so, I’m holding your feet to the fire on this one, Bob. 😀 And thanks for your condolences. Those of us who live on our boats know they’re more than just floating fiberglass.

  7. Nicole and Aaron July 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Oh, no! Aaron and I are so, so very sorry to hear this terrible news. We wish you and Libby all the best and our fingers are crossed that this gets resolved to your complete satisfaction soon. Take care!
    -Nicole and Aaron
    s/v Bella Star

  8. Carolyn Donahoe July 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    The photo you have of the damage made me sad =( I can oly imagine how you feel. I am soooo glad no one was hurt. I will keep my fingers crossed for you and Libby

  9. andy July 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    That is just terrible! Been through that myself. (38′ powerboat at full throttle) If you need the name of a lawyer I can pass one on to you. I hope the other guy’s insurance is not Ace USA. They were not “fun” to deal with.

    Question if they guy had transmission problems why didn’t he steer around Libby! No mention of steering problems?

    I hope Libby is either repaired or you get to upgrade your boat. But most importantly that you are satisfied with the outcome.

  10. tylerroberts July 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

    That’s a bad hit! He must have been going pretty fast! CSR does amazing work though – you wont even know it happened.

  11. rob e. July 31, 2012 at 11:37 am

    strange things can happen out on the water, apparently even on the hook?? so, if they total your beloved- i saw this ( advert. in my local c-list and thought of you…. seems like a good deal, if your not up to sailing the blue solo – to get it up there. you could at least get some cruising experience in with getting some deliv. help. PS in case the http doesn’t post, it is an ericson 35′

    1. Courtney August 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Rob,
      Thanks for the link. That does look like a nice deal, and Ericsons are good boats. I expect it’ll be gone soon. Too bad it runs on an Atomic 4, otherwise it’s nearly perfect!

  12. Brian August 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I just wanted to say you have my sincerest condolences. It turns my stomach to think of that happening to my own boat, I can only imagine how you must feel. I hope your Libby can be saved, and that you fare just as well.

  13. SV Annie Roe August 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I follow your blog and I am crushed for you…
    Be strong. Karma is a powerful force!


    1. Courtney August 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks, Angela.

  14. Pingback: Why I don’t want a “new” boat | Courtney Kirchoff

  15. Pingback: Dealing with BoatUS (part one) | Courtney Kirchoff

  16. Pingback: SV Libby Islander 30 for Sale (update: SOLD) | Courtney Kirchoff