Date: 19 September 2017. Hurricane Irma
As written in
Hurricane Irma (part 1),
my Seaweed is more than just a home. She's my shelter, my safety, my
tranquility and my happiness. I love my boat. Protecting her is
paramount. Hurricane season each year is from the first of June through the end of
November. For me having places where I can hide from *fetch is
length of open water between your boat and the horizon. A short
distance means winds and waves have less chance to build up. It is
safer. More information on fetch can be found in the
By the Shipyard article.
I intend to go further, see more places, explore and
enjoy life afloat.
I'm not sure how far I'll get however I have lots of charts.
I am waiting on incoming Amazon and eBay orders.
Seaweed takes care of me. When the sun shines I've got power via my
solar panels. When the breeze blows, I've got more power from my
wind generator. If neither sun nor wind cooperate, Bluebell powers
my life. Bluebell is my gasoline generator. Bluebell will even run
the air-conditioner. At anchor, off the grid, my life is wonderful.
I am truly blessed.
Irene has the same generator as I do. We have Yamaha 1000's.
Irene made a blue canvas cover for hers. Mine is
stored inside under a beige cover.
digress... Suffice it to say, Seaweed is special to me. Very, very
The local cops were riding in
their cruisers up and down streets blaring recordings saying "get
out" along with a "mandatory evacuation order" for barrier island
I was busy tying Seaweed off to the neighbor's dock and my
mangrove. Plus I set my anchor out in the middle of the canal to
pull myself away from everything. None of this was easy.
Irene aboard S/V Katja was preparing her Valient32 at
Treasure Key Marina in the Bahamas.
Storm preparation is not simply a matter of
adding lines to your vessel. You must adjust them to account for
tides, wind direction, and more. Plus with a sailboat all the sails
have to come down. None of this is physically easy.
that meant five lines from her port side up wind (eastward) to four
different pilings. The five lines all ended on separate cleats. I
had six lines on the starboard side. Undue stress at any single
point was to be avoided.
rowed my anchor out into the canal. That meant finding fenders to
float the anchor chain. Physically I could not simply row upwind
with all that chain dragging across the bottom. I tied fenders to
the chain each fifteen feet to help lift the chain.
Some may suggest that I
could have just dropped the chain length desired into my
dinghy. I considered that. The problem would have been
untangling the chain and letting it out without giving myself
a swimming lesson.
should have done: Two or three days prior to the storm I
should have taken my anchor out via Seaweed and planted it
Next I could have returned
Seaweed to where I'm rafted up, then laid out more
chain. The chain would lie across the bottom until just prior
to the hurricane's arrival. With the chain lowered it would
not interfere with other boaters as they moved their vessels
The day before I could
have adjusted my anchor and tightened up the chain.
Using the fenders was not entirely successful. I would have
preferred to have the anchor out an additional 25'. I wasn't strong
enough to make that happen. Instead I got out about 50' of chain and
called it Good Enough. Not ideal, but then the world seldom is
In Treasure Key Marina, my friend Irene adjusted and readjusted her
lines through tide changes.
Irene is one smart cookie:
She's left up her bimini to provide some shade. That came down last!
Making the lines the correct
length, taking into considering storm surge, preventing the boat
from touching the dock... All of this is difficult. It is an art
that boaters continually work at perfecting.
It is always a good idea to have another boater check your work. An
experienced eye is always a good thing. Once you're done though,
you're done. There will always be those who criticize. Hindsight is
20/20 and rubbing salt in a wound is never helpful.
come... I'll post the next part
While in a marina and storm prepping, how many dock
lines do you use?
And, do you also set an anchor?
© 2017, 2020
Hurricane Irma (part 1) ~
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Hurricane Irma (part 3)