Mirari, My intention has not been to put down the people at Portland Riverside Marina. I don't blame them for the accident -- obviously they didn't intend for this to happen. They are, as you say, generally a good boatyard to deal with, very reasonably priced and friendly, which is why we were repeat customers even though there is a boatyard much closer to our home. The boatyard manager is a very kindhearted person (and a good manager) and the staff are all excellent at what they do.
That said, the owners have offered us no form of compensation, which is disappointing. In fact, they haven't communicated with us at all. I don't know if they are legally required to do so (thank you hellosailor for the links), but it feels like it would be the right (and professional) thing to do. I'm not saying we expect a pile of cash, just something.. a token.. anything really. Yes, we did not as yet receive a bill for unloading the boat from the trailer or for the short time the boat was stored, but the boatyard has not explicitly offered to waive the fee, so there is the possibility that they will attempt to bill us. Our boat was placed in the "campground" section (along with several other boats) because we were told at the time that the yard was full, but that they would make room for us (which we appreciated). There were already several boats in this section, and they regularly store boats in this area (our first boat, which we bought from the marina, was stored here).
I looked at the big tree, and thought to myself "that looks dangerous" but I don't know if there were any outward signs of decay. It was an old tree, and I figured if it lasted this long, it must be OK (wrong), and of course I didn't really have a choice anyway. However, during the weeks after our boat was placed in the campground section, several other boats were placed in the main boatyard. Perhaps because they were bigger? I don't know.
We were loyal customers, and we had referred a couple other people to them as well. The boatyard is full and they are clearly having a good year. I would certainly fight back (legally) if they tried to charge us for the cost to remove their tree off of our boat. I'm sure the owners of the two other boats that were damaged would agree.
Yes, our insurance allowed us to recover the money we spent, but now we have no boat. The boat was a uniquely good deal - sold to us for under it's value because the previous owner needed to get rid of it before the season ended, and because he and his wife are very nice people who wanted the boat to go to a good home. It was in very good condition, the previous owner loved this boat and had taken very good care of it (when I told him about the accident he was heartbroken). Our four nephews (who are avid sailors) were very excited about the boat and one of them was so excited he drew a picture for us to hang in the boat. Needless to say they were very disappointed as well.
Yes, I know it's just a physical object, and yes, I'm very glad no one got hurt. But our financial (can't spend more than we spent on our crushed boat) and physical situation (must be shoal draft) will make it difficult to find a comparable boat (30', in good condition), and life is short.