Update to 2023 GREAT LOOP Plans, Fixing up FELIX after it SANK, and re-prepping it for the GREAT LOOP

After my plans for the 2022 Great Loop trip fell through, I removed most of the things I had installed on FELIX for the Loop. This turned out to be very lucky – FELIX partially sank (one hull, which had contained most of the things I installed for the Loop, and then removed) during Hurricane IAN near the end of 2022. I am in the process of re-installing most of what I removed (the extra solar panels, batteries, inverter, refrigeration, etc.

I plan now to leave on the 2023 Loop trip May 1, as I have an engagement with a band, Rios Rock Band, playing on the boat April 29 for a large group of friends. Also, since four of the locks on the Illinois RIver are closing June 1 of 2023 for four months, I will be doing the Loop in reverse (Clockwise) to get past those lock BEFORE June 1, then complete the Loop at my leisure.

Since re-floating FELIX with the help of some awesome friends, I have replaced most of the destroyed deck, fixed the mangled roof, replaced the battery, and generally cleaned up the mess from the one hull being on the bottom for a few days. Still left to do to restore FELIX to its former glory is to replace the outboard that was underwater, repaint the decks, and repair the fiberglass damage on the port full from being bashed against the dock during the hurricane.

FELIX after Hurricane IAN passed through
The port hull with one of the Mercury 40HP outboards underwater

Partially re-floated at this point
The large hole in the upper hull that made it almost impossible to re-float the boat.
The two holes in the hull that ended up sinking the port hull.
Finally re-floated, but what a mess!
Removing the damaged deck
More of the deck removed – only COOSA decking remains at this point
Replaced the damaged deck with new COOSA – never has to be replaced again
The outboard that was underwater – lower unit is trashed, prop is broken, all electrical is fried. Luckily I have a spare…