On February 3, 2003 - a few days after we left our friends on their boat Hotel California behind to move on to Guadaloupe, their boat was hit by a ferry in Winthropes Bay, Antigua. The Walch family had gone ashore - leaving the cockpit light and anchor light on their boat - to have dinner with some friends they made at church. Sometime in the evening, a 50 foot ferry rammed Hotel California right between the bows at about 10 knots!
The poor catamaran's cross bar was smashed, and pulled out of the bows - causing damage to both bows, the trampoline was destroyed, a major scrape on one of the bows, and the forestay was knocked down causing the mast to fall backwards - but, the mast didn't fall all the way initially because the shrouds held it up. Wilson, the owner, and his son stayed on the boat during the night and managed to lash down some of the damaged parts. They of course spoke to the police, the ferry company and the coast guard.
Unfortunately, the mast fell down the rest of the way the next day during some high winds. Again, no one was hurt. They had to lash down the mast and boom on one bow, and the cross bar and other parts on the other bow. Then they moved Hotel California to Jolly Harbour where a marina with a boat yard capable of hauling a catamaran is located. The ferry company, Jumby Bay Ferry, has disgustingly tried to lay blame on Hotel California by saying they were in a ferry channel (no such channel was marked on any chart) and they didn't have their anchor light on (not true, as corroborated by several witnesses by the police, and by Wilson). Regardless, the ferry captain is responsible for hitting anything he hits by international law - so trying to make Wilson feel worse than he already feels is just cruel.
Hotel California is working now on getting estimates and repairs effected and with the insurance companies, coast guard, and police to deal with the ferry company. We hope they are able to effect repairs quickly so they can continue their journey - they only have until August for their planned family excursion.