Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

With sustained winds of 100 mph, Hurricane Irene is expected to strengthen as it approaches the U.S. mainland this weekend. Irene, already a Category 2, should avoid the southeastern states, but Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are battening down the hatches for a storm that could hit as early as Saturday afternoon. The forecasts echo those of 2010, when Hurricane Earl arrived with
Author:
Publish date:

With sustained winds of 100 mph, Hurricane Irene is expected to strengthen as it approaches the U.S. mainland this weekend. Irene, already a Category 2, should avoid the southeastern states, but Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are battening down the hatches for a storm that could hit as early as Saturday afternoon. The forecasts echo those of 2010, when Hurricane Earl arrived with similar predictions and departed with 50-knot winds. There's no telling what Irene may bring, so owners throughout New England are scrambling to have their boats hauled and secured.

earl.int




To haul or not to haul? If we did have the boat hauled, that would be it for a season that still had six or seven weeks of good sailing left in it. The worst of the winds were expected to be from the north and west, rather than the dangerous northeastern quadrant, so we decided to leave the boat in. I was as confident as I could be in the integrity of mooring and ground tackle, so my main concern was getting the boat as ready as possible for the coming onslaught. Here’s what we did.

earl1









1. If strong winds are expected it’s a good idea to cut down on windage. Step one was to clear all extraneous clutter from the deck and cockpit. Fishing rod and man-overboard gear went belowdecks; the outboard would come home with us.

earl2







2. Many boats had their headsails removed – an absolutely essential step if hurricane-force winds are expected - but the mains still bent on. We decided to remove ours. The dinghy was lashed down on deck; it too went down below. I was amazed at how many other sailors simply lashed their dinks to the foredeck, not even bothering to deflate them.

Earl5





3. We have modified the bow cleats to be chafe-free – otherwise, I’d have spent some time adding anti-chafe gear to the mooring pennants.

Earl4







4. I worried that the flukes of the anchor would catch in the mooring pennants as the bow pitched, so we pulled it up on deck and lashed it down. I probably didn’t need to do this, but a little extra security never hurt anyone.

Earl6







5. The mainsail and headsail are off, and the halyards taken down to the pulpit or toerails and hardened up. Rope coils are lashed to the mast. Dorade cowls are turned to face aft.

Earl7





6. Having your rudder flopping from side to side as the boat swings doesn’t do your steering much good, so I’ve double-lashed the wheel. I didn’t want the boom swinging around, so that’s been secured too.

Earl9





7. Belowdecks, we closed all the seacocks, dogged the hatches down tight, and secured all breakables inside lockers. Before stripping the boat, we motored around for an hour to make sure the batteries were topped up sufficiently to cope with demands from the bilge pumps.

Related

shutterstock_1158262783

A Catamaran Takes on the American Great Loop

After completing the European Great Loop on our 1987 40ft Catalac catamaran, Angel Louise, my wife, Sue, and I sailed home to the States and spent two years sailing up and down East coast between Maine and Florida, like migratory waterfowl. Eventually, though, we decided to ...read more

01-LEAD_Alex_Irwin

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Competition

The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition once again captures the excitement that is sailing from around the world An impressive 109 photographers from 25 countries took part in last year’s Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2018 competition. And while Portuguese photographer Ricarado ...read more

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more