Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anticipating the unexpected...

So it looks like Baltimore is going to be hit by Hurricane Irene this weekend. Weather reports are still sketchy, but at the very least we will get some high winds and rain, according to the weathermen.

I don't claim to be an expert on hurricane preparedness on boats, but when I lived in Washington, D.C., I was required to file a hurricane plan (including location of extra lines and fenders) which is what initially got me thinking about and researching hurricane preparedness. That and Ida, which hit the first year I lived aboard.

Here in the Chesapeake Bay we don't frequently see the effects of hurricanes beyond what's expected for this weekend: high winds, some possible flooding, high tides and lots and lots of rain.

Rain and high water aren't so much a problem for me since I am docked at a floating dock. The dock will just rise as the water rises. And so will Misty Rose. The problem comes with the high winds. High winds cause large waves, which if your boat is not tied up properly can cause serious problems -- like hull damage.

Tidewater, which is where I live, posted on their Facebook page today that they recommend boat owners consider taking their sails off and removing canvas coverings.

Unless the forecast gets a whole lot more serious, I won't be removing my sails. They are a lot of work to get off and get folded and I don't really want to have to do that. So without further ado, here is my list of hurricane preparations:
  1. Make sure genoa is tightly rolled to the roller furler and tied down. 
  2. Double bow line (mine has a tendency to rub in the chock and wear down).
  3. Check all dock lines. Add extra lines where necessary.
  4. Rehang all fenders so that they will stay between the boat and the dock.
  5. Pump bilge (yes -- I am still pumping the bilge by hand!)
  6. Dog down all hatches (it only takes one hatch partially open to cause a flood -- trust me, I've been there!)
And of course my final step -- head for the hills! When Ida hit I was incredibly seasick. I don't particularly have a mind to do that again, so I'll be heading over to the boyfriend's. Normally we split our weekends between his house and the boat, but this weekend we're definitely planning to hang out at his place!

SOURCE: Graphic from

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