A decade later, Isabel-damaged deadrise is being restored

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Sep 18, 2013 - 12:42 PM

Photo: Longtime Mathews resident Jimmy John Hunley is finally close to putting this deadrise in the water, years after he first set his eye on her as a teenager. Since then, the boat has faced many trials, including being run ashore on some rocks during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Above, Wesley Sanger, left, who has done the structural repairs on the boat, is shown with Hunley’s son, Braden, who will take possession of the vessel once its restoration is completed. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Longtime Mathews resident Jimmy John Hunley is finally close to putting this deadrise in the water, years after he first set his eye on her as a teenager. Since then, the boat has faced many trials, including being run ashore on some rocks during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Above, Wesley Sanger, left, who has done the structural repairs on the boat, is shown with Hunley’s son, Braden, who will take possession of the vessel once its restoration is completed. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Ten years after Hurricane Isabel claimed countless homes, vehicles, boats and other property, one of its victims is coming back to life, thanks to a Mathews family who is having her rehabilitated.

Longtime Mathews resident Jimmy John Hunley, who now resides in Deltaville, has had his eye on a particular 28-foot deadrise since he was a teenager.

In 2003, this deadrise succumbed to the high winds and rough waters of Isabel and went up against some rocks along the Middlesex County side of the Piankatank River.

"One day we were crabbing on the Piankatank and saw it," Hunley said, "and I said, ‘There’s that little boat.’"

Hunley thought if maybe he could figure a way to get the boat off the rocks, he could work out something with the owner to take possession of the vessel. However, the deadrise was positioned in such a way on the rocks that he and his buddies couldn’t figure a way to get her down.

"We didn’t pursue it," Hunley said. "But the next thing I knew, we found her again in a Deltaville boatyard." It appeared that someone had started working on her, but then stopped and there the boat sat.