[photo: satellite view of a typical hurricane. Irene is bigger!]Our very good friend and sailing mentor in the Caribbean, David Kummerle, once told us that it takes 4 days to have a hurricane on a boat if all goes well – a day to get ready, a day to have the storm, a day to rest, and then a day to put the boat back together. And that’s if there’s no boat damage. We learned the truth of that in two previous hurricanes, Lenny in the Virgin Islands, and Isabel here in Annapolis. We’re about to test that advice again. Earlier this week we started our pre-prep. That’s my self-justifying description of spending lots of time in internet chats with my sailing buddies, and checking multiple weather sites as soon as they were updated. In addition to the biggies like Weather Underground andAccuweather and NOAA, we like the graphics on Stormpulse.
We ran through our standard list of preparations: take off the sails, dodger and bimini; double up all docklines; secure everything above deck; tie halyards away from the mast. Fuel and water tanks topped up. Then the special tricks that David taught us after surviving half a dozen big hurricanes in the tropics: making sure that our mast wasn’t directly in line with the boat next to us, so that if we started really rocking the masts wouldn’t get tangled with each other. An anchor out in case we had to get off a disintegrating dock. A ditch bag packed with our passports, medications, some cash, and other emergency stuff. Cars moved to high ground and parked away from tree limbs. Most importantly, we laid in a supply of bad movies and good wine, and then declared ourselves as ready as we can get.The first “gift” from the storm was another reminder of how much the people are the reason I love being part of the boating community. “Can I give you a hand with that?” was the phrase heard most often on the dock, even more often than “What’s the latest forecast?” Helping each other prepare, trading tips, watching after the boats of friends who were trapped out of town … nothing like feeling very small against a common enemy to enhance our sense of togetherness.
[More later, as time in connectivity allow. Stay safe, all]