The Crash

The Crash

After several days of running on adrenaline after crashing our boat, the Burnetts themselves are crashing.  Mel has handled this by getting a terrible sore throat and laryngitis to go along with her grumpy mood.  Greg hasn’t been able to crash as hard as Mel yet, as he is still busy coordinating 20 people a day and sleeping every night on the boat until Marvin is safely out of the water.  But when he crashes, he is going to crash, hard. 

In the aftermath of the disaster, Greg and Mel have been making the usual mistakes one makes when one has many, many things to do and many, many thoughts to have.  Greg bought doughnuts for the Coast Guard on “Filling Out Forms” day along with some yummy tarts, but a tart hit the floor, gooey side down, in a flubbed handoff.  A purse is left in an apartment they looked at.  An iPhone is left on the boat.   Carlos, Marcos, Santiago, Domingo, Fernando, and Pablo are jumbled in Mel’s head.  Mel locks herself out of their new apartment.

This would usually be no big deal, but after something like this happens, one is hard on oneself for making mistakes.

In fact, Mel was mistaken about the Pan-Pan.  Mayday was appropriate.  It turns out that Greg didn’t call Mayday because he was over-reacting as a pilot, but rather, Mel mistakenly wanted to call Pan-Pan because she was under-reacting as a doctor.  You see, as a doctor, you don’t call “a code” unless the patient is critical and you’ve exhausted your tools.  Don’t want to worry people.  I mean, we were still above water…

At the moment Marvin is sitting in the water after a tow this morning from Arguineguin marina to Puerto Rico.  The tow couldn’t be done until this morning because of the combination of high winds and a lee shore with a rudderless boat.  Apparently, Master Oogway (Mel’s name for the Atlantic Wind God) still has lessons he wants to teach us.  After all of this, we better be bad-ass Kung Fu Sailors.  Very patient badasses.

Marvin’s engine rooms are both flooded, with basketball-sized holes in both transoms.  The starboard bilge for the rest of the boat is still dry, and the port bilge has a very small leak only, with an intact bilge pump.  Marvin is scheduled for a haul-out soon, we hope.  They have to get a giant crane to the marina first.  We won’t be able to assess the full extent of the damage until we can get him out of the water.

The family has settled into a small apartment.  Finding something reasonable in a resort town was no small feat, and we have a lot of great new friends, such as Carlos, Domingo, and Fernando to thank for it.  Gypsy is happily exploring her new surroundings and has even rolled around in the grass.  She missed it.

The kids are coping well.  Tommy is talking incessantly, as always, and Allie says, “We are doing a lot of getting used to things.”  They are excited about the wired Wi-Fi coming on Monday.  But we are all restless, as if a dear family member is injured and in the ICU.  Mel understands now why people name their boats.  When you bear a huge responsibility for keeping something safe and uninjured, you name it.

Of course, things like this do give you perspective.  When we reflect back on our worries about FAR MORE COMMON calamities before the crossing – snagging a net, chafing a line, wrapping the spinnaker around the jib, even AUTOPILOT FAILURE, we snort.  What-TF-ever!

Greg’s story of the rescue is coming, my friends.  Patience.

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4 Responses

  1. Steve
    | Reply

    Glad no one was hurt except for poor Marvin.
    Re Mayday was appropriate.?? The vessel did not sink or risk to life? After 36 years commanding commercial ships I don’t believe I would have called a mayday either.

    • Mel
      | Reply

      This is a hotly debated topic. I think the existence of Pan-Pan confuses many people. I think they should get rid of Pan-Pan. (I also think they should get rid of the Beaufort scale, so I guess I am not a fan of awkward estimates.) There should just be one code word for, “Hey, Coast Guard, pay attention to me…something has gone wrong and we should figure this out together.” When things first happen, it’s hard to estimate the potential danger level right away, especially while your bilge pumps are still working!

  2. Owen
    | Reply

    Glad you guys are ok – boat can be fixed! Looks like Leopard engine rooms are sealed from the rest of the boat pretty well.
    Hope you all get some well deserved rest.

  3. Karen
    | Reply


    How long is the guess you will be in Puerto Rico? Will insurance cover the repair of Marvin?

    What an adventure (can say that because you are all safe and healthy) for the kids. Looking forward to Greg’s account of the night. And the kids’ too.

    Take care

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