Life in the Thunderbolt Marina

Thursday, July 6, 2017    Life in Thunderbolt Marina (TMI), Savannah, Georgia

It has been three weeks since we took up residence in our new ‘neighborhood’.   Like any neighborhood, there is a routine for daily living.  Around 7 am the first of the TMI employees begin to arrive.  TMI is a huge yard so many of the employees buzz around on golf carts to get to all the various boats they are working on.  The project managers assigned to each boat will show up sometime early morning to check progress (no lounging in pajamas for us) and, depending on the day, the various technicians will be on board making repairs.   We have quite a long list of issues that need attention and are slowly being resolved. We are in regular contact with Hudson Yacht representatives to agree on next steps but we still no definitive date of departure.

As might be expected, the weather here is very hot and humid.  The humidity is fed by frequent large thunderstorms which drop more moisture into the air.   There have been days when it’s been a challenge to venture out of the air conditioning.  Those are good days for reading, watching Netflix, going to a movie (we both liked Baby Driver) or visiting the local Starbucks.

63017 1st light Thunderbolt Marina

Thunderstorms on the way

It’s always interesting to see new boats that arrive and those that leave.  Last week a 1938 wooden sailing ketch that had been beautifully restored, named Trade Wind, showed up to have its mast installed.  It is on its way to a wooden boat show in Maryland.


62817 Tradewinds 1938 restored

Restored 1938 wooden ketch Trade Winds

62817 1938 Tradewinds

1938 Wooden Tradewinds

Most of the boats in the yard are sitting empty awaiting work to be completed but there are a few of us that are living on our ‘houseboats’.  There are two types of residents. The crew members of the larger yachts and owners living on the smaller boats (e.g. Deb and Doug).   The owners tend to connect with each other, exchange information and gossip (what neighborhood would exist without gossip) and, occasionally, in the evening gather for a cocktail.   Some of these residents have been living on their boats for at least 4 months waiting, for various reasons, to have repairs completed.   We have rented a car (a very bright yellow car that can be quickly found in ANY parking lot- a major plus for an owner of a gray Camry that can never find her car) so we can readily leave the marina to do other things / see other sights.

62817 Cant miss this anywhere

Cant miss this beauty anywhere

The crew members are usually very friendly and the majority are from other countries.  New Zealand, South Africa and Britain are well represented on various crews.   The Kiwis (New Zealanders) are particularly happy these days after their country’s boat decisively won the America’s Cup last month in Bermuda.   One of the Kiwis, who we met yesterday, is a crew member on a large sailing yacht that arrived in the marina earlier this week, from Bermuda, for repairs.    Asahi is the name of the yacht.  It is 180 feet long and gorgeous.  In general, crew members are very discreet in terms of sharing any information about their boat owners but for those of us whose ‘inquiring minds want to know’, Google is always a wealth of information.   In the case of Asahi we determined that the owner was the individual whose racing boat took second in the America’s Cup… yes, Larry Ellison of Oracle.   Made me wonder who the Kiwi crew member cheered for during the series.   Last night we watched as that very large boat was lifted out of the water to have repairs made to the keel.  It was quite a process to behold.  It was done in the evening to take advantage of the high tide so it had to be timed very carefully before the tide began to drop again.  All very interesting for us Midwesterners that are unfamiliar with tides… or very big yachts for that matter.

7517 Ellis Asahi moved to land2

Larry Ellison’s Asahi moved to land for rudder repair

7517 Ellis Asahi moved to land5

180 ft Asahi out of the water for repairs




  1. Toni · July 7, 2017

    Hi Deb,thanks again for your blog and beautiful pictures. We really enjoy hearing about your adventures. I know how much Doug hates heat and humidity but at least you are in a beautiful part of the country and have lots of exploring opportunities!!! Miss you 😍

    • minnehahasailing · July 7, 2017

      Doug doesnt mind heat and humidity. He gives me grief for complaining…which doesnt stop me😊

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