The cold winds of winter are still blowing across the bay, but Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association members have their minds set on warmer times three months from now. That's the deadline the organization has to get its marina and grounds back in operation after substantial damage by high tidal surges from Hurricane Sandy.
It's not come at a good time as RBSA is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary during 2013.
The October storm uplifted much of the association's marina, destroyed the electrical system, pulled away catwalks and carried boardwalk planks and walkways out to sea. In addition, huge piles of debris were deposited throughout RBSA grounds. The clubhouse, sail-loft building and general grounds suffered only minor damage, but two RBSA sailboats were destroyed.
RBSA officials estimate the damage at $50,000 to $70,000.
“We were fortunate because we had pulled all boats out one week before the storm,” said Hugh McRae, one of a team of member volunteers who are providing free labor to restore the marina and grounds.
“It's by far the most damage we've had,” McRae said. “After the storm we looked at the devastation and thought we would never get it cleaned up.”
But thanks to hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, RBSA is moving toward getting everything up and running for the spring and summer sailing seasons, said Roger Anderson, RBSA commodore.
Volunteer members and friends have committed to work every Saturday to clean up and make repairs. McRae said volunteers will reduce repair costs by about two-thirds, but bulkhead and pier work will be outsourced to a contractor. “Our volunteer base is keeping us in business,” McRae said.
Volunteers have a strict deadline to get the marina ready. Boats go back in the bay Saturday, May 4, and RBSA hosts a Hobie regatta Saturday, May 11.
Fortunately, the March 6 nor'easter did not damage to the marina.
Anyone interested in assisting with clean-up and repair work can contact Ann Whaley, vice commodore, at 302-537-1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.