This post is likely to be a bit disjointed and confusing. For that I apologize in advance. I just need to get my thoughts down at this point.
First off. And this occurred to me late last night after I heard a rumor that a certain person closely involved with this endeavor has publicly stated that I'm only doing this for the publicity.
In my opinion, there is only one person who motivation at this point is publicity and that is "Captn' Jay.
There is apparently a donation site for Jay already set up somewhere and there is talk about setting up some sort of pay pal thing to cover some of the expenses of this operation.
I believe strongly that all donations should be made to something that Jay has no access to and that he in no way profits from this beyond getting the boat off the beach.
I would really like to see an ongoing effort, after the conclusion of this adventure, that would use any extra or continuing donations to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future.
Extra monies, in my opinion should be used to assist, teach, purchase proper tackle for the next "Capt'n Jay". You know the one. The boat that you never see anyone aboard that's anchored with a piece of chafed 1/2" three strand nylon without a bridle.
We as a society spend millions of dollars trying to rehabilitate people who've committed crimes and are sentenced to jail. We spend uncounted dollars helping people who's personal choices have left them homeless and destitute.
What the hell is the problem with trying to rehabilitate or intervene in the lives of people before they end up in jail or on the street?
That's what I would like to see happen as a result of this. I would like to see an awareness created about this problem and people, you and me, do something to prevent this stuff from happening in future.
I don't have the answer as to how that should occur or even if it would be effective. But I'm certain that if you don't attempt something, success is never a possibility.
Enough of that.
To the poster that is concerned about the integrity of the mast. No offense, but I am a professional sailboat rigger. I know that the mast is suspect. I know that I have to jury rig it to make it strong enough to handle the loads that we are going to be imparting on it. I haven't been sitting on my hands here.
I can't express my gratitude strongly enough to avb3 (cupper), Rocketman, Sailinman, Smackdaddy, David Old Jersey, Goldiphlox and so many other for their direct and enthusiastic support. If you have emailed, or PMed me or called me and I haven't gotten back to you yet, please, please know that it's not because you're not deemed important. I just am really busy and I'm doing the best I can.
Someone told me yesterday, after seeing how much time I was spending on the phone and computer that getting the boat off looks to be the easy part of all this.
Many things are up in the air at this point. I am not expecting to hear from the Harbormaster, Dennis, until tomorrow. He is the person that the city manager said that I have to work with.
I spoke personally with a gentleman named Clay at Tow Boat US yesterday. He has helped Jay in the past. During the TS actually. He and I will speak again tomorrow. He has confirmed that he will help with at least one boat and presumably equipment. We will nail things down a bit more when we speak.
Jay told me yesterday that he spoke with SeaTow and that they agreed to help also. I can't confirm this however.
The issue that I believe might arise with the professional recoverers is that they are likely going to strongly question some of my methods and use of volunteers because of safety concerns. I don't take these concerns lightly but I am not going to be able to deal with a bunch of differing opinions on the day of action.
A group of locals are meeting at the boat tonight at around 6:00 to offload as much as possible from the boat. This is dependent on what has been arranged by that time as to where to put the crap. I tried yesterday to get Jay to understand the importance of boxing and bagging up as much stuff as soon as possible. He has told me that he is working on that.
One idea that I had was to get a Pod or something similar delivered.
We'll see what happens tonight.
My plan, which I've outlined to a few of you on the phone is to dig or blow the sand away from the keel and rudder while pulling the boat over by the now jury rigged mast by means of winches on as many securely anchored boats as possible. The more boats, the more lines. The more lines we can deploy, the less load on each individual one. The less load on each one, the less chance of snapping one or breaking a volunteers equipment.
Once the keel and rudder are dug out, the hole where the keel was buried needs to be filled back in right away. Then a piece of thick plywood will be laid on the sand and a timber or a piling will be placed under the keel to block it up and provide something to slide on rather than allow it to rest back on or to dig back into the sand. This will also serve to allow us to relieve some of the pressure on the line holding the mast horizontal.
Depending on how soon the water comes in and how close the boat is to floating, we will hopefully have a large vessel throwing up as big a wake as they can generate.
My goal is to have the boat move incrementally, a bit at a time if possible by means of a coordinated pull on all these lines secured to winches on anchored boats.
I feel that this will be the safest way to do this. Rather than have a lot of people and lines sharing the water with a bunch of spinning props.
I plan on acquiring some travel-lift slings or similar to wrap around the hull to have secure places to attach lines. We can't tie to anything on the boat.
If plan A doesn't work, meaning there's not enough anchored boats to do the job, I want to have a contingency plan where the mast is tied down to a heavy enough boat that will keep it from lifting when the boat begins to move and the lines go slack. I believe that a boat holding down the masthead is easier than trying to weigh it down with barrels or some such.
This is where the spinning props come in. If we can't winch the boat off, the boats will help pull. The problem arises when the winches on the anchored boats try to keep up with the lines as they go slack. I can foresee a few fouled props. That's why it's plan B.
I want to acquire as much floatation as possible that can be tied or secured under the turn of the bilge or keel.
I have been in contact with a Saint Pete Beach fireman who is a 911 hero and survivor. He is going to be there with some of his mates. I hope to have him or someone equally qualified to oversee the first aid station in case anyone sustains injury.
I really can't cover everything that has been running through my head on this thing in this thread, but please be assured that I'm am thinking about and discussing every aspect of this project with people and am not ruling out or discounting anyone's ideas at this point. I want as many ideas and as much discussion as possible at this point.
However, on the day of action. There can't be a bunch of second guessing or arguing. Plans and alternate plans have to be in place and orders have to be followed. Time will be of the essence and debating everything on that day will not be a luxury that we can afford.
I was interviewed by Fox 13 news and it was the lead story last night. So that's good news. I expect that a bunch of people are going to show up as a result. If only to spectate.
Again, thank you to all who are supporting me in this. For those who are still stuck on the issue of Jay's personality or worthiness. Please get over it. This is not about Jay. It's about us. It's about sailors coming together to regulate ourselves instead of simply saying, "it's not our problem. Let the government deal with it".
It's about our local and virtual community coming together to get something positive done. Something that can perhaps carry on after the Promise is floating to prevent this stuff from happening with such frequency in the future.
Here's the news story.
Want to help pull a boat off Gulfport Beach on Wednesday?