Kerry and John Pears' yacht driven ashore still attached to the pontoon
Yachting Monthly contributor Kerry Pears’ yacht lies on her side, driven ashore still attached to the pontoon after Storm Sandy ripped through New York harbour.
British liveaboards Kerry and husband John now face a difficult time as their New York marina tries to sort out the post-storm damage, with winter approaching and their once-floating home lying on her side on the hard.
Kerry and John were forced to leave the yacht, Folly, in the marina as Sandy approached last week. The couple found a hotel room outside New York in which to sit out the storm and made contact with Yachting Monthly once power was restored.
Kerry reports: ‘We’re safe and well, unfortunately Folly not so.
‘No-one anticipated the ferocity of the storm or magnitude of the surge until too late for us to find somewhere else to go.
‘We chose as well as we could, but Folly has been washed up onto the hardstanding of the marina next door to where she was berthed.
‘She is still attached to the pontoon. Such was the strength of the storm, and height of the tidal surge, that the 50 or so boats which had been lifted out and stored on the hard for safety were driven into the houses and power lines on the opposite side of the road. All the marinas in the harbour have been destroyed.’
Kerry and John built Folly, a 40ft Van de Stadt aluminium pilot house sloop, in their evenings and weekends over four and a half years, in Portsmouth. They set sail on a seven-year circumnavigation in 1999 and after returning to the UK, crossed the Atlantic again last year and have cruised the USA’s eastern seaboard this year.
Kerry said they had been given fantastic support by fellow sailors, who’d given them refuge and offered other help.
She continued: ‘We’ve been able to take a brief look at Folly, and get a few belongings off, and think she has only survived because of the strength in her aluminium hull. Amazingly no hatches or windows were broken.
‘She has a small hole in the hull from laying on a steel stand when she came onshore; stanchions broken; damage to the back of the keel, various dents, scratches etc, that we could see.
‘It is going to take a long time for the marinas to sort out all the boats, so we can’t make proper plans at present.
‘As there was no electricity in the motel and most landlines and many mobile phone systems not working, no public transport, no possibility of hiring a car, nowhere for food (luckily we took some with us when we left the boat) it has been pretty difficult.
‘It took a 10-mile round trip walk to the harbour the afternoon after the storm came through to find out the fate of Folly.’
At least 106 US deaths – 40 of them in New York City – have been blamed on Sandy, which struck on 29 October. The storm caused 69 deaths as it drove through the Caribbean and the Haitian government has appealled for humanitarian aid aftercrops were destroyed and thousands of people made homeless.
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