First Tropical System of 2014? Get Ready!

It’s early for serious hurricanes, but all the weather gurus are predicting that a tropical storm (currently Invest 91L, but it will be “Arthur” if it develops into a tropical storm) will form off the Atlantic coast of Florida/Georgia/South Carolina this week.

We dread having the boat back in the Atlantic hurricane zone, but surviving a direct hit when Cat 4 Hurricane Charley paid an unexpected visit, made us realize the importance of advance preparation.  I’ve compiled a few links, both mine and others, that may be of some help when you’re planning your hurricane preparations.

Anyone have other good links to share, please leave a comment and share.  It’s important to take hurricane season seriously!

Boat Prep in a Marina

brokenmastRemoving a Roller Furling Jib — in our experience the #1 MOST CRITICAL preparation for a hurricane is removing ALL the windage possible, all canvas … and this includes the roller furling jib.  It is NOT sufficient to merely wrap extra lines around the jib and expect it to survive through a hurricane, too many times we’ve seen evidence to the contrary.  You don’t want to risk a broken mast or other significant damage because the roller furling was left up!    Here’s another post that may be useful – it’s actually devoted to putting the roller furling back on, but it’s a photo essay with more detail and doing the steps in reverse will help remove the roller furling jib. 

10 Tips for Revisiting Dock Lines – after removing all the windage from the boat, we believe the next most critical step is the spiderweb of dock lines.  When we leave the boat, we have double lines on everything to as many different pilings as possible — keep in mind, alot of the damage and sunken boats during Charley were due to pilings breaking.  Also, try to anticipate what storm surge will do to the dock lines — will they float right off the top of the pilings?  Or will they be too short and contribute to a piling breaking?  It is SO hard to judge the right configuration.  For Charley we had all our lines set for a serious storm surge .. then the hurricane sucked all the water OUT of the marina, leaving the boats sitting on the mud and when the predicted storm surge did come in, it started from mud, not from normal water levels.  The wall of water forced the boats on the “outside” of the docks under the docks causing quite a bit of damage to bow sprits and stern rails.  We were lucky in that we were on the “inside” of the dock where the storm surge pushed us away from the dock and minimized any damage.  But try to visualize what might happen with a wall of water coming into the marina and configure your dock lines the best you can.

Chafe Gear?  4 Important Considerations for Your Boat – all the lines in the spiderweb won’t do a bit of good if they chafe through either at the boat or on the dock/pilings!

Hurricane Season … Are You Ready? –  don’t forget all the other details .. if the boats are wildly rocking side to side, are you going to have masts get tangled with boats on either side of your slip?  … don’t forget to shut off the power (or have your caretaker do it for you) … fenders, batteries, drains, bilge pumps, etc.  The devil is often in the small details.  Don’t risk sinking because of clogged drains!

After the Hurricane    10 tips for “hidden” things to check on after the hurricane.


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