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March 6, 2009

I got a call from a friend of mine this week who lives in Charleston, SC.  He builds wooden boats for a living and needed to come to Wilmington to update his captain’s classifications.  It’s been fun catching up considering Jen and I haven’t seen him and his wife since last summer.  The most recent project he and his brother built was a 50 foot wooden catamaran.  She’s a beautiful vessel with a lot of time (over 2 years) invested in building her and we had the pleasure of hanging out on it for an afternoon.  Very impressive.  So back to catching up — do any of you remember a news story of a Coast Guard rescue about 200 miles off our coast last December?  Well, it was this million dollar boat, Kekoa, who took over 2 years to build, and was supposed to be under way to it’s new port in the Virgin Islands!  My friend wasn’t on it, thankfully, because they hired a crew to sail it there for their investors.  Long story very short, the weather turned rather quickly and the captain apparently didn’t heed a few warning signs.  They didn’t haul in a sail before the winds got to 40 knots and by then they couldn’t get it in at all.  Because of this they were forced northeast instead of south and had to withstand 60 foot faces for 48 straight hours sustaining a hole in one hull and some lost railings and rigging.  A boat made of fiberglass, I’m told, would have been in pieces after just a few hours.  After the crew made the call to abandon ship and were rescued, Kekoa drifted for 5 days through more storm before she could be salvaged.  When they found her she had only taken on 1 inch of water.  Did I mention I was impressed by this boat?  First, let me say how thankful I am that everyone survived.  I think it’s safe to say we’ve all missed warning signs along our own paths and paid some serious consequences because of it.  Second, what a testament to the designer and the builders of this boat.  They took so much time for a labor of love, didn’t cut any corners, and used the best materials available for creating something that will outlast conventional boats by 150 – 200 years.  Kekoa, though beaten and battered, withstood this storm and proved, in my opinion, that she will stand the test of time.  What kind of material are you made of?


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