Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 

Date: 19 September 2017. Hurricane Irma (part 2)


This became a multi-part series about Hurricane Irma and the impact it had on me. The individual articles can be found here:

For those that prefer their reading all on one page (and it's a biggie)
the entire tale can be found on the
Hurricane Irma Saga page.

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 critical.

*Fetch is the 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.

My friend 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.

But I digress... Suffice it to say, Seaweed is special to me. Very, very special.

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 residents.

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.

For Seaweed 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.

Then I 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.

What I should have done: Two or three days prior to the storm I should have taken my anchor out via Seaweed and planted it mid-canal.

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 around.

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 perfect.

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.

More to come... I'll post the next part shortly.

While in a marina and storm prepping, how many dock lines do you use?
And, do you also set an anchor?


2017, 2020

Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Security,

Hurricane Irma (part 1) ~ Previous Post ...    ... Next Post ~ Hurricane Irma (part 3)


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  With a boat, if you don't care for the view, the neighbors or the weather, you haul in the lines and change them! OffDuty on TrawlerForum.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |