When we returned to Florida from Isla Mujeres Mexico in May 2007, Joy and I began toying with the idea of staying on by ourselves in 2008 to travel further south along the Yucatan Channel. The hardest part of the journey would be over, and sailing to points south would fall into relatively easy day trips, playing the winds and the weather.
Then came March 2008, a month of violent weather in Florida. Perhaps I had become complacent, or maybe even a little smug about the idea that I could ever be hit by lightning. Boy, was I wrong. Adding insult to injury, rubbing salt in the wounds, or whatever, while Joy and I were in New Hampshire for my Dad’s memorial service, Thor decided to smack us. Ocean Angel was sorely hurt as everything electronic, and some things electrical were blasted off the planet, literally. More than a month after the strike, a friend told me he found a burnt black exploded coil of wire in his cockpit, six boats away, and at the time he wondered what in the world it was. Now we know; it was the remains of my VHF antennae coil, blown off the top of my mast.
With only six weeks to go before the start of the 2008 Regata del Sol al Sol XL, the 40th running of this event, and the planned kick-off for our Caribbean adventure, we had more repairs to complete than I could begin to contemplate. The mast needed to come down, much of the boat needed to be re-wired, the hull needed to be inspected to find the lightning exit point, and all the electronics needed to be replaced – a massive undertaking. Could it be done?
Well, with lots of help from my racing crew, plus about 100 hours of my own time, we got the job done, and the Angel was ready to go. Everyone was great helping to get the Angel ready, especially the folks at Beneteau Customer Service and Parts supplying in short order items only they could supply, this all for a 22 year old yacht. Hats off to Todd, Ward, and Marie at Beneteau – I think they know my voice.
After all our work, Ocean Angel was tugging at her mooring lines; she knew it was time to go. She is smiling, I can feel it!
So here is where the Angel wants to be, in her element, surfing with the wind and the waves, parting the indigo blue waters of the mile deep Gulf of Mexico. Scant days after the repairs were finished she and I would be there with our hearty crew, racing to join our friends who would fly to meet us in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We would put her to the test, and I was confident she would exceed our wildest expectations.