By Beth David, Editor
Last week’s storm Wednesday and Thursday, 10/16/19 and 10/17, brought hurricane-force winds of 88 miles per hour in Fairhaven and gusts of more than 100 MPH on the Cape. Boats broke from their moorings, trees were knocked down, and power was out for thousands for several hours. Fairhaven officials responded to more than 40 calls during the storm that included service from Eversource, fire, police, harbormaster, tree warden, for calls ranging from overturned vessels to alarm activations.
At the bottom of Farmfield Street a 28-foot O’Day sailboat owned by Jesse Wimberly, broke from its mooring, taking the mooring ball with it, and landed in the mud.
Mr. Wimberly said the neighbors turned out in force to help him get his boat back in the water. It took a few days and some ingenuity, as the 24-hour mark had passed, making TowBoat US no longer an option for rescuing the boat. The complication of the closing of the hurricane barrier complicated matters because they had to wait for high tide to move the boat. He also needed to wait for the weather to calm down.
“It’s just a boat,” said Mr. Wimberly. “It just wasn’t worth it. It was too dangerous.”
At first, there was “not a scratch on it,” said Mr. Wimberly, but after a few days, the boat had a few cracks and some leaks. He patched the holes and got bilge pumps to keep it dry.
Mr. Wimberly then got a friend with a scalloper who just happened to be returning to the harbor to help pull the boat off the beach at high tide.
At one point, his wife, Julie Ann, jumped into the water to retrieve a line that had gotten loose.
“My wife was the big hero on Sunday,” said Mr. Wimberly, who also sang the praises of Fairhaven Harbormaster Tim Cox. “Tim did a great job. Kudos to him.”
Mr. Wimberly said it “took quite a while,” but they managed to get the boat off the beach while the tide was still high enough. He rallied the “troops,” his neighbors and friends, and used big posts “with muscle behind it,” to move the 4,000 pound vessel.
Once it got into the water, was floating and not taking on water, TowBoat US was able to take over and tow it to a boatyard.
Ironically, Mr. Wimberly said he had just had the mooring inspected and it passed.
“So, it was not a good inspection,” he said.
The boat never had a name, but after his wife’s heroics, Mr. Wimberly said he will probably name it “Julie Ann.”
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