In Thailand, Exit Only survived the most destructive tsunami of modern times without a scratch, but we didn't escape scot-free.  The arm of the tsunami was very long, and out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the tsunami made a lasting impression on Exit Only's starboard bow.


The starboard bow is the bow of destruction.  Two times Exit Only has collided with things at sea, and it's always the starboard bow that takes the beating.

When Exit Only left the factory in France, she was sailed to England to be placed on a ship for delivery to America.  Unfortunately, the delivery captain ran into something and knocked a fist sized hole in the bow.  I don't know what he hit, and believe it or not, he didn't report the damage.  He repaired it with body filler and covered it over with gel coat.  The Privilege dealer in Florida didn't mention the damage, and I had the boat for a year before I discovered telltale cracks in the gel coat when I hauled the boat out of the water for a bottom job.  Only then did the dealer tell me about the damage to the bow.

At that point, I was starting a circumnavigation, and it was imperative that I discover the extent of the damage, and whether it was properly repaired.   I removed the gel coat with a grinder and discovered to my chagrin that they had put body filler in the hole rather than do a proper repair using fiberglass.  It was the worst type of shoddy workmanship and substantially weakened the strength of the bow.  A repeated collision at sea could have been disastrous with this substandard repair.

In the boat yard I exposed the entire area of damage and performed a professional repair that restored the bow's integrity.   I beefed up the bow to make it more impact resistant in case I ever hit a partially submerged container or log while at sea.  Then I applied new gel coat to finish the repair.


Exit Only was never at risk of sinking when holed because there is a collision bulkhead twelve inches back from the bow.  This bulkhead prevented any significant amount of water from entering the yacht.  Only a few cups of water were in the space ahead of the collision bulkhead.

It was a disappointment to have a hole in the bow of a totally new yacht, and disappointing that the yacht dealer didn't admit to the damage until I discovered its tell tale signs a year later, but in the long haul I may be fortunate that we had the damage to the starboard bow.  Why do I say that?


If I hadn't beefed up the bow to repair the hidden damage, then when I ran into a log south of Sri Lanka after the tsunami, it might have put a devastatingly large hole in the bow rather than just create the gel coat damage shown in this picture. 


One of the things that concern every captain at sea is the possibility of collision with partially submerged containers and logs.  In the Indian Ocean, some of the floating logs were more than a hundred feet long and a meter thick.  Collision with such a log can sink a ballasted monohull yacht in under five minutes.  In a catamaran a log won't sink you, but it can cause flooding of one hull.

You never know ahead of time whether apparent disaster is actually good or bad.  I wasn't happy about the damage to the starboard bow that I discovered in Fort Lauderdale, but that discovery and repair may have saved me from a humongous problem in the Indian Ocean eleven years later.

That's they way things are in life.  Although you live in the short term, life is a long term proposition.  What looks like disaster in the short term, may be a blessing in the long haul.  There's truth in the saying, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger."  It was certainly true for Exit Only's starboard bow.

I'll take gel coat damage any day when I hit a log in the Indian Ocean.  Repairing gel coat at my leisure in a boatyard is a world better than having to deal with a gaping hole in the bow in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

If you want to sail the seven seas, you must become an expert at turning bad things into better things, and when bad things happen, you might discover that dealing with the bad thing actually protected you from something even worse.

When bad things happen, it's not time to put on sackcloth and sit in a pile of ashes.  It's time to keep on keeping on.

It's never over until it's over, and in spite the hole in my starboard bow, life is still good.

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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