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Date: 10 November 2022. Nicole Necessity (grapnel hook)


As Nicole made her way toward Florida many people were busy preparing for the storm. I was fortunate in that the winds were predicted to be from the north. Seaweed is tucked in to the south of mangroves and behind a multi-story building, thus I was in a good place to avoid damage. In the aftermath however I discovered an old purchase that was a real help in retrieving wayward items.

Years ago I was wandering around eBay and spotted a small grapnel/grappling hook. (Both words are used to describe this cool gizmo)

The hook is five inches (13cm) from the loop at the top to the bottom. The span between the hooks is the same 5" inches.

When purchased from eBay I bought the least expensive stainless steel one available for $5 several years ago. They appear to be approximately twice as expensive now. Mine has been used quite a few times over the years. I am pleased with the quality of this item.


Mini-Lesson for buying on eBay:

  • First go to eBay. Link
  • In the search box type "Grapnel hook"
  • Click Search

  • Now, look to the right  just below the Search box where you will see "Best Match" displayed. Click on that and select "Price + Shipping: lowest first"

  • Finally your search results will appear.

Pick the least expensive one that you like. You will notice that many utilize the exact same description and pictures though the photo order does differ. I chose a Stainless Steel hook because I boat in salt water.



Though stainless steel the POINT PROTECTORS ↑ did allow humidity to stay on the points, thus a bit of surface rust has occurred.

Over the years I have used my grapnel hook to retrieve a dock line I dropped overboard. It is useful when swimming from my dinghy. The hook is light weight, thus I can easily move it. The grapnel hook would not secure Algae permanently, however it does keep the dink from drifting away quickly when I am searching for seashells. I have also used it when beachcombing by planting the hook in the sand past the high-water mark.

It is amazing as I looking back over the years afloat at the small things which have made life easier, both before and after a storm. For me this silly hook has turned out to be more useful than originally anticipated. I am curious as to any "oddities" which have found space aboard your vessel.

In the Beryl Lessons article, I discussed lessons learned while at anchor during that storm.

When a storm is impending while at anchor we all debate "move and hide" versus "stay put and hunker down" scenarios. Wise mariners do take into consideration not only the set of the anchor but who might be around your boat. The LAST THING you want is some bozo with minimal experience to set their anchor directly in front of your vessel, where if they drag they will harm you!

After the storm passes through the water will be churned up. Rather than brown, Nicole caused muddy water:

Storm Nicole left a lot of debris in the water on the east coast. A log was in the middle of this seaweed patch:

Lots of leaves and small branches covered the boats over here on the west coast:


After a storm checking drains is a must. Next to me a fly-bridge drain was clogged with leaves.

Clearing drains from below is a great idea IF you want an instant bath.

Note to self: Remove leaves clogging drains from above unless wearing rain gear.

Seaweed did have a clogged drain in the cockpit. There was approximately 3 inches (8cm) of standing water back there. IF things had gotten bad, the water would have spilled over into my galley, then drained into the bilge where my pumps would have taken care of the situation.

I did get quite a few leaves stuck on the top of my boat. My solar panels were not producing because of the debris.

Removing the leaves from my solar panels was a top priority, after the cockpit drain that is.

Like Hurricanes Irma and Ian tides were low for Nicole.

After the storm there was quite a lot of stuff in the water. I spotted a blue cushion behind my Seaweed:

The seat cover was far away... too far to be caught with a boat hook.

Fortunately I had just the thing to attempt a seat cushion retrieval:

My grappling hook is a nifty tool. Although I do not use it frequently, there are times when it is essential.

When I first attempted to snag the cushion I failed. Approximately 15 minutes later it drifted closer. I was then successful.

I tied a piece of 3/8" (1cm) braid to the loop at the top my hook. The opposite end was secured to a cleat so
I could not accidentally lose it. I left the point protectors in place. That way I would not damage the cushion.

The owner was reunited with his blue cushion the next day.

Seaweed came through Nicole a-okay. Ditto Buddy, who was happy when I opened up the boat and put my plants back outside.

Skipper is inside, looking at either the night heron Buddy or me.

All in all, I was fortunate Nicole was not bad over here. The storm did deposit debris everywhere. Clearing that mess was a pain in my transom. There are still sporadic rains, plus heavy dew. These two combine to make the leaves stick to the boat.

I am wondering if you have any tricks for removing the inevitable stains that come with leaves being stuck on a boat. Please post a comment or send me an email to janice@janice142 with your suggestions. Thanks.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate that.

Do you have any gizmos that make your life easier?
For next time, I would appreciate any advice you might have for wet leaf removal along with the stains too please.

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