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'It's a gamble': Cruisers secure sailboat home, flee Matthew

October 07, 2016 - 7:44 AM

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Robin and Greg Bontrager's preparations for Hurricane Matthew involved a lot of rope.

The couple lives year-round on their 42-foot Hunter sailboat named "Always and Forever," and for the last two years they've docked in Brunswick, Georgia, from June through November.

The Bontragers found space at a motel in the city after having two other reservations cancelled due to evacuation orders. They removed any loose items from the boat, including sails and canvas, and double-tied it to the dock.

Robin Bontrager said they're both retired schoolteachers who decided life was too short to skip adventures. She was emotional Friday as rain poured down around Dock 3 where their boat will ride out the hurricane, surrounded by several other boats that are full-time homes to fellow "cruisers."

"No one ever wants to leave their home, whether it's a forest fire, a tornado, a hurricane, whatever the natural disaster might be," she said. "And we're not sure what we're going to come back to. We don't know what the winds will be like when Hurricane Matthew reaches Brunswick. So it's a gamble. We don't know. It's tough to leave your home."

But, she added, "things can be replaced." Her life, her husband's life — and the couples' two dogs who sail along with them — can't be.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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