Date: 17 January 2014. Beryl Lessons.
Tropical Storm Beryl came ashore in
Jacksonville Beach, Florida in May of 2012. I, along with several other
boats were in an anchorage just north of there in a small tributary called
the North River. Eight of us chose to stay aboard and ride out the storm
on our homes. During the time of the Beryl some lessons were learned.
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA is
where Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall.
NORTH RIVER ANCHORAGE, a tributary of the St.
Marys River in Georgia where we anchored.
This photo was taken after the
tropical storm had passed thru.
Why do I know it was after the storm?
Because one boat is missing -- he dragged!
The photograph was taken by a friend a bit further west on
the river. The tree line is to the east.
The numbered boats: (the rest seen are tied to docks along
Yes, there were eight of us however more are further up the river and not
shown in this picture. [Plus one fellow dragged and ended up in the trees.
It was not pretty, however insurance covered him.]
SLOW DANCE, a catamaran (40'?)
SEAWEED, the cutest trawler
ever at 23' (that's me!)
Vindhler, a 40' steel sailboat
IN AINNEION, another 40' steel
First, please note that the
catamaran (#1) is facing toward the north, while I (#2) am bow to the south. The two
sailboats are facing westward. And that ladies and gents is why:
anchoring it's best not to anchor right on top of other boats!
A boxy power boat such as mine has a
lot of windage, therefore I will be far more affected by the direction of
the prevailing winds. Not always though! And a sleek sailboat will more
likely face into the currents. Now if that sailboat has a sunshade spread
over the boom, then she's going to behave more like mine.
Often folks think they are being
"friendly" by anchoring on top of another boat -- that is not a good idea,
especially if your boat is going to react differently from the first boat
Rules of etiquette
prevail: the first boat has priority.
the first boat in has two anchors deployed fore and aft (so he is not going to
swing) you need to make sure you either follow suit or anchor far
enough away that you will not cause a middle of-the-night bump! Because I
power boat in a world of anchoring sailboats often I chose to
anchor quite far from the pack.
Tropical Storm Beryl eight boats anchored up the North River. It
branches off the St. Marys River at the border of Florida and
Georgia. We had a VHF radio net operational and, excluding one
boat, all of us chatted through the night. There is a certain
camaraderie when you're out here, alone but with friends too.
Ken ran the VHF net. He was
at the dock, with a source of power, watching and reporting on the
storm for us.
I appreciated so much his broadcasts. Knowing the storm will abate
at approximately X-hours is encouraging.
I noted that the outer bans of the storm began arriving at 11 a.m.
on 27 May. By 1430 (2:30 p.m.) winds were kicking. Nearly twelve
hours later (at 0200 on 28 May) the eye arrived. It was not until
nearly 9 the following morning that the winds calmed down to less
than gale force. Gale force winds are those topping 35 mph.
a 3/4" 12-strand braided snubber. The outer braid chafed through,
and the inner core was melted. That line was replaced by two
three-strand lines: a 1/2" and 5/8" pair. Both of those had damage
after the storm came through. Subsequently both were, of course, disposed of. A
damaged rope is a useless one.
were quite fortunate. Ken was tied to a dock kept us up to date
about the storm while watching the radar on his boat. It was handy
to know when the rain bans were coming through. Knowing when the
eye arrived allowed me to add another snubber line to my chain.
though was Ford Smith
aboard Solace. He was
anchored further up the North River from us. Solace read his
anemometer and let us know just how fast the wind was blowing. As
I recall, it topped out at 49 knots -- pretty doggone fast for
sustained winds. As you can see from this picture, the waves even
in our protected area were kicking, even after the storm had
fellow though, rather than keeping his VHF on, chose to shut his
down to save battery power. I will not name him, but goodness knows
the rest of us heard him being called on the radio in plenty of
time for him to have deployed his second anchor. He ended up in 9'
of water, with his mast tangled in the trees along the shore after
lessons learned from the Tropical Storm Beryl experience include:
adequate snubber gear (I went through three snubbers during the
was comforting (friendship helps when things are ticking)
bad conditions is not so bad if you (er, I!) know it will end at a
anchoring system is imperative (a big anchor, all chain, AND a
decent snubber system)
chain was great -- worked well and without any worries about it
chafing. My issues were all regarding the snubbers. Prior to the next
storm I will have a better system in place. That includes multiple snubbers
attached at both ends to Seaweed.
I'd love to hear of your experiences during a storm.
And, what is your system for snubber chafe protection?
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