Fourth of July. Dependent on Independence Day.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 4th, 2017

Moving right along after the shipwreck. You all have lifted my spirits with your reactions and encouragements. Thank you very much, I love you.

My back operation, the kyphoplasty, is scheduled for this coming Friday. More X-Rays and an EKG were done yesterday. They will keep me overnight and then I’m good to go on Saturday.

The next operation to deal with is the wreck removal. The Virginia Marine Police showed up at the crime scene while I was hoisted into the helicopter. Last Saturday two husky officers showed up at my daughter’s address and I had to sign the affidavit that I will have the wreck removed by July 22nd., or else. The officer in charge has been very helpful and sent me the below pictures. The first one was taken that Friday morning and the one deeper in the water two days later. The boat was at a fairly steep angle when I abandoned ship but the keel has apparently dug into the sand and therefore straightened out. I had managed with great difficulty to get a liability insurance in 2014. Wooden boats are tough to insure. The coverage was limited to US waters.  I cancelled the insurance in San Diego last October and obtained coverage for Mexican waters. Then last May, back in the USA, I re-applied for liability at the same State Farm agency. They confirmed coverage. But then I received a notice of cancellation by mail to my daughter in Fife’s address. The reason they gave in the letter was that I had not given the answers to an earlier e-mail. But I had. So, when the accident had happened I was desperate. But in the end it turned out that the cancellation takes effect on July 19. So, I am covered for the removal costs. The real reason turned out to be that the underwriters did not want a client who pops in and out of the country. I have asked a few towing/salvage companies for bids but still waiting for answers. There is a remote chance that “Fleetwood” can be repaired. But the longer I wait the lower the chances and fewer the opportunity for recovering items like the windvane, life raft, etc. These Barrier Islands were once used for bombing practice and still contain some unexploded ordnance, complicating things.

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Once I have this operation under way, I intend to drive up to Montreal to meet Roger Simard who has invited me to sail down the St. Lawrence on his Naja “Bonita” to Quebec City for the Tall Ships Parade, July 18-23. This is the second Naja kit imported from England after my “Fleetwood” kit. I flew to Montreal in the winter of early 1980 to see her exhibited as a hull in the Montreal boat show. Roger is the second owner, he did a very successful refit and upgrade of her about 10 years ago. I shall visit friends and my Vermont cousin along the way. In my previous blog I suggested house sitting and it looks like that is starting to happen. I plan to be in the Northwest for Thanksgiving and probably confirm an invitation from friends in Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara, for September and part of October.

Suggestions and offers have been made for a “Fund me” action to finance a replacement for “Fleetwood”. There is a good chance that I’d like to spend a few more years exploring by sail boat, but I have no firm plans yet. I have savings and, thank God, for now a loving home with Sean and Jeannine in Virginia. I am sad that the “Great Loop” did not work out. Cuba and the West Coast of South America remain on my wish list, by boat or by air. In the meantime, I am financially supported by my book sales, especially if you purchase the print versions from Create Space instead of Amazon (see details on the books web sites) tell your friends. I replaced my salt ruined cheap cell phone with a $30 android. Same 253 are code number starting with 441-. Now I am no longer the butt of snickering when I place the phone to my ear.




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