Some who read and comment at many of the same sites and blogs I often visit, may have noticed that a couple years back, I changed my "signature" from "Sloop New Dawn", to "Sunk New Dawn".
You can thank Hurricane Ike for the demise of the New Dawn. What follows are some photos of her as she was found after the storm, about 300 yards inland from her former berth. My thanks to Captain Rhonda Cummins for taking these photos before the salvage crews hauled the New Dawn off to the boneyard.
Being beaten ashore by wind and wave, she is known to have rolled at least twice. Once certainly, between two large houses, which is where her mast and rigging was torn asunder. She suffered terminal hull-deck separations, forward of the chainplates on the port side.
In the above photo, she doesn't look too bad, does she? But, the mast is broken and twisted into a triangular pretzel. It was torn out of it's tabernacle, pretty much destroying the upper cabin roof. A testament to the strength of the design, the chainplates remained intact at the hull attachments.
More, below the fold............
You'll note the Scheel keel, three bladed (13"x13") bronze prop, and balanced, skeg-hung rudder. Not only did she handle well at the helm, she was highly controllable while backing down, and as long as the sails were well trimmed, had virtually no weather helm at all. A bit tender to heel due to her fairly narrow 8'6" beam, she'd stiffen up and point very high to wind, especially in light air. In heavy winds, one simply reefed the sails by furling, down to where she'd handle sweetly again.
The New Dawn was a 30' Sovereign, center-cockpit, aft-cabin sloop. She was equipped with roller furling on both the mainsail and jib, a 2 cylinder, 15 hp "Nanidiesel" engine, (essentially, a Kubota diesel marinized by a Swedish company), Anderson stainless self-tailing winches, with all lines leading aft to the cockpit. She was a true single-handed cruising sailboat, with much Caribbean water under her keel.
Sovereign was a Destin, Florida builder, and they'd bought the S-2 mold for their 25' center cockpit boat, and extended the hull 3'. aft by adding a generous lazarette, and just shy of 3' forward with a stout bow pulpit, supporting a dual anchor roller, the forestay and associated furler, and tensioned by a stout bobstay beneath. Sovereign only built fewer than 80 of these boats. This one was custom ordered by her original owner, and thus had four extra layers of fiberglass in the hull, from 2" above the waterline, all the way to the turn of the keel.
This extra length forward in the Sovereign design allowed for a 130% jib. Sailing wing and wing, I never missed not having a spinnaker aboard.
Sadly, it was her original owner from whom I bought her that had enjoyed the Caribbean sailing, and not me. I did manage to get her a hundred miles or so each way up and down the Texas Gulf Coast outside of the Houston Ship Channel.
Here, you can see the damage done to the upperdecks of the main saloon, where the mast tabernacle was fitted.
And a view of the cockpit, facing forward. The main companionway's weatherboards had not been torn away, as I had a heavy-weather latching system affixed belowdecks. However, the companionway's sliding plexiglass cover had been slammed open in the storm, greatly contributing to the destruction belowdecks.
Aft of the cockpit was the deckhouse for the boat's aft cabin. Both fore and aft deck hatches were also carried away by the force of Ike.
Unlike many sailboats, she'd truly sailed many of the waters she was built for.
Sadly, Cap'n Rhonda wasn't able to get any photos belowdecks. Her engine was torn loose from the mounts, and fifteen gallons of diesel had coated her from cabin sole to overheads, and everything in between.
In one of my very earliest posts here at Smoke on the Water, I'd answered the question of "Why, you ask?" Here's a bit from that essay;
Once, the saleslady who represented our office supplier related to me the tale of her Dad. He’d worked all his life and had hoped “one day” to buy an RV and see the country. Yes, he was a good man, a great provider. Raised two kids, did the home-thing and did it all quite well. But, he always spoke of his dream.
When he finally retired at 62, sadly, he died a month later from a massive coronary. His daughter told me that they’d all begged over the years for vacations, trips, and exploration; adventure. Being “Mr. Responsible”, he had checked off all of the “dutiful” boxes for his family. But listening to his daughter, I know that she’d have traded half of the stability for just a TASTE of that ride with her Dad.... in the RV that never was.
When I'm rockin' on the chair in my geezerly years, I damn sure won't have to look back, and wish I had. I did it, and I will never regret it.
Now then, my life has moved on. While I was still aboard, I met my lovely Iris, and I moved ashore with her shortly thereafter. My intention was to put the New Dawn through a full refit, and have her to sail on weekends, vacations and the like. Sadly, I'd only completed much of the wiring for the new electronics suite when Ike hit, and washed those dreams into the realm of memories.
I'm grateful for my seven years aboard the New Dawn, and shall always miss the feel of her deck under my feet.
But I'm more grateful for the Iris' love, the life we've been building together, and the home we've remade since Ike.
The Sloop New Dawn abides, always in my heart.