I've lived in the hurricane zone all of my life. If you want to know what the fuss is all about just look up the history
of some past category 4-5 hurricanes: Camile, Mitch, Andrew, unamed hurricane which annihilated Galveston, TX in 1900....
I saw the aftermath of Camile as a kid -- made a big impression -- tossed freighters upon the beach like they were pool toys...erased all structures from large swaths of coast line. Also saw Homestead after Andrew...total desolation.
Attempting to ride out a hurricane on a boat is simply foolish. I've sailed in Cat 1 conditions and trying to move about on deck
in 65-80 knots of wind
is a real physical challenge. Once winds are 100+ knots you are not physically able to do anything. A boat is just a boat -- you can get another one -- not worth risking your life.
My hurricane strategy, regardless of insurance, has always been to secure the boat as well as possible and get the hell out of Dodge. Better yet, keep the boat here in Rio Dulce, Guatemala
where there are no worries about hurricanes.
That said there are hurricane prep strategies that work. One, get clear of other boats...a crowded marina is one of the worst places too be. Shrimpers on the Gulf Coast
take their boats as far upstream as possible, remove electronics
up the engine
and open the sea cocks...they ride it out just fine on the nice muddy bottom (of course these are just rough working boats not a fancy yacht). You can follow a similar strategy with a sailing vessel by getting her as far inland up in the mangroves as possible and lacing her in with lots of very long lines -- partially flooding the hull(s), especially on a multihull
, is a good tactic. One of the best places for a sailboat is to get her out of the water, to an elevation above forecast
storm surge, and plant her in a trench (monohull). Multihulls taken ashore should be strapped down to good strong anchor
points (light weight is not an asset in 200 knots of wind).
This is (or was when I was last there) a service
you can pay for in Corpus Christi Texas
. A few related pics attached. One of a travel lift
, hauling out my previous boat in preparation for a hurricane, waiting at a traffic light...not something you see every day! The other is of boats planted in the wide median of the beach front boulevard. Also a few pics from the aftermath of a tropical storm (just barely under hurricane strength) which hit SW Florida
when I lived there.
Because of this great potential for loss many insurance policies specify a "named storm box" and have significant constraints on coverage (often dramatically increased deductible or even no coverage) if you are "in the box" during hurricane season.