During a six-month meander from Florida to Texas aboard their Krogen 38 Hello Texas, Richard and Nicki spent nearly 200 nights on the water, and they only ran into one oil rig.
Considering the number of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico– where Richard and Nicki did much of their cruising- the odds weren’t really in their favor, anyway. One night in mid-May, off a desolate stretch of the Louisiana coastline, the couple’s hot streak came to an end. Here is Richard’s account of the mishap, as documented in a blog entry entitled, “Holy S**t!!!”:
“Louisiana has very few hiding holes for anchoring on the Gulf side. So, transiting across Louisiana means at least one overnight sail, through one of the busiest commercial ports, littered with oil rigs, dozens of crew boats crisscrossing the area, and if that weren’t enough, commercial fishermen seem to like to fish around the oil rigs.
“To make a long story short, I hit a poorly lit oil rig on Tuesday night. It snapped the mast above the spreaders and pulled the bow sprit up and over while shearing off the dolphin knocker bolts, which are located below the waterline when Hello Texas is in forward motion.
“Unlike the other rigs, which were lit up like Christmas trees, this huge rig had one little dim flasher on each corner. My night vision being what it is, and it being past midnight, I interpreted the flashers as being far away and not connected to one object, but several smaller objects, so I motorsailed on…Holy S**t!!!
“[In addition to the damage to the mast and bowsprit], the genoa furler has been destroyed. The staysail stay snapped its bolts at the deck. We lost our VHF antenna, and wouldn’t you know it, our backup handheld VHF picked this moment to have battery troubles…
“Nobody was injured, and the oil platform is no worse for the wear.”
To read the complete blog entry, click here.