It has been partially underwater for almost two months thanks to Hurricane Harvey, but a generous gift could help downtown Corpus Christi's La Niña replica get on the road to recovery.
"She didn't sink in the hurricane," said Kim Mrazek, president of the Columbus Sailing Association. "She sank about three days afterwards."
Mrazek is determined to save La Niña. As the leader of the Columbus Sailing Association, she has recruited help from volunteers to check the ship's worthiness.
"We've had divers examine her and she is not damaged hull-wise," Mrazek said. "There are no holes. There's nothing that would have breached the hull."
Mrazek and her team theorize that when the City turned off power to the Marina just before the hurricane hit, the ship's pumps stopped working. That allowed the rain to accumulate, pushing the ship down into the silt.
"We believe that she went down in that silt and it was above the waterline," Mrazaek said. "Above the water line she's just boards. She's not caulked, and that's how she took on more water."
Just when the Association was looking at rough seas for La Niña, an anonymous donor has stepped in to save the day.
"We got a very generous donation two weeks ago," Mrazek said. "Actually two weeks to the day, for $20,000. And at that point we were ready to, we only had about $3,000, which wouldn't have done any of this. We were at a point of just saying, 'Gee, I'm really sorry but we can't move forward. We don't have the money.'"
The $20,000 gets the Association close to its halfway mark of $50,000 -- money it plans to use to refurbish the aging ship in three steps.
"We raise her, get her stabilized, tow her to 533," Mrazek said. "They haul her out, put her on blocks, and then the work begins. And it's going to be a new bottom job, of course, because she needs that after three years. And that's just maintenance on a wooden ship."
The Association plans more fundraisers in the coming months to help restore La Niña to its former glory.
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