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Old 03-03-2012, 15:22   #31
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
I feel like a dummy asking this question but here goes any way: I always here about cruising boats delaying their trips South to avoid hurricane season. Many boats won't head below the Chesapeake until after November due to restrictions on their insurance.

Surely, though, their are people who own boat South of the Chesapeake and in the Caribbean, who keep their boats in the water all through Hurricane season. Their is a substantial liveaboard population in Miami and the USVI.

What do these folks do? Do they just get crushed by their insurance providers? Do people South of the Chesapeake play roulette with named storms, hauling out only at the last minute? What is it like to be one of the million boat owners living South of the Chesapeake or in the Caribbean during the thick of hurricane season?

They may be going uninsured. They may be wealthy enough that they can afford to lose the boat and replace it. They may be very confident about where they would put their boat in a hurricane.

But for most of us, we don't want to risk losing our boats. I have hull insurance on my boat and I live in Florida. It ain't cheap.
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Old 03-03-2012, 15:25   #32
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I've gotten two private messages in as many weeks to use better capitalization in my thread titles.


I think we should keep to what one of the GREAT minds of the 19th century (President Ulysess S. Grant) said:

It's a damned poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word!"

I taught students with learning disabilities for many years. To a very large extent, things like grammar and spelling are a talent, like music. Some have it; some don't. If we had to sing our answers instead of writing them, we'd have a whole different set of challenged people.
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Old 03-03-2012, 15:52   #33
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Been sailing in the Virgin Islands and Eastern Caribbean since 1969...over 40 years...and mostly in hurricane season.

Had my own boat in the BVI and south to Grenada for eleven years, during which she rode out five (5) major hurricanes -- with over 100 knot winds in the marina. Four in the water, one hauled out. My boat suffered almost no damage, due to being in the best hurricane-protected marina in the islands (Nanny Cay) and to excellent preparations by the caretaker of my boat.

What's the fuss? Well, you've just gotta see it to believe it.

What do people do? Most have some sort of hurricane plan and some have favorite "hurricane holes". In Tortola, in addition to Nanny Cay, there's Paraquita Bay, but it's usually chock-a-block with charter boats.

Folks used to think that Simson Bay in St. Martin was a great hurricane hole, but as was mentioned hundreds of boats there came to grief in one of the big 'Canes.

Many still think that Ensenada Honda on Culebra is a good hurricane hole, but dozens of boats have been upended, sunk, and otherwise damaged there.

"Hurricane Hole" at the east end of St. John was the traditional spot for some years....pull way up the creeks into the mangroves and tie to them securely.

Bottom line: you do the best you can, and pray that the track of the year's hurricanes doesn't pass closeby.

WHATEVER YOU DO, GET OFF YOUR BOAT! It's absolute folly (and ignorance) to believe you can ride it out. Nothing better than Russian Roulette, IMHO.

Bill
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Old 03-03-2012, 16:10   #34
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

I fully agree with Cheechako about not taking a huricane lightly, I work in St. Martin and have seen way too many huricane casualties around here.
Leaving your boat in the water on a mooring is not a good choice in my experience. The probability of the boat become loose or get hit by other boats or floasum or flying debries is very hight. When a huricane is expected to go through the area we remove all possible objects off the deck, take the sails down and tie the boat in a "spider web" lines between two fingers in the marina (no shortage of fingers during huricane season) then check into a hotel and wait for the storm to pass.
Indeed it most of the time a huricane does not last more than 24 hours.
The bottom line is that one should never take a huricane lightly, it packs immence power and it is very unforgiving for the slight error.
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Old 03-03-2012, 17:00   #35
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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I fully agree with Cheechako about not taking a huricane lightly...
+1

Another good reason not to take them lightly is that hurricanes don't read forecasts. A few good examples from here in the NW Carib:

- Keith, was forecast to be just a Tropical Storm, boaters in Belize prepared for TS conditions, Keith did get a copy the forecast and powered up to a full blow hurricane just before making landfall...several people aboard boats died as a result and a number of boats were lost.

- Iris, who many expected (or hoped) to turn north as is the norm, held her westerly track and came ashore as a Cat 4 in the wee hours and trashed Placencia. Over 20 peopled died, 19 of those on the M/V Wave Dancer.

- Mitch. Apparently got a copy of the forecast and said..."oh yeah, watch this!"...did everything a hurricane in not supposed to do....thousands died as a result. Good sailing related read "The Ship and The Storm" about the loss of S/V Phantom.

Lessons learned: Treat the forecast skeptically and never, ever stay aboard any boat if there is potential threat of a hurricane.
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Old 03-03-2012, 20:37   #36
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Some people take their jobs way to seruoyusly....
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Old 03-03-2012, 22:06   #37
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
I think we should keep to what one of the GREAT minds of the 19th century (President Ulysess S. Grant) said:

It's a damned poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word!"

I taught students with learning disabilities for many years. To a very large extent, things like grammar and spelling are a talent, like music. Some have it; some don't. If we had to sing our answers instead of writing them, we'd have a whole different set of challenged people.
Much agreed Rakuflames. My spelling and grammar are piss poor. It has always made it hard for me to be #1 academically-Just a missing part of my brain. Back to the issue at hand. Only the ignorant or a fool would underestimate the forces of nature. Untill I found myself out in sixty foot waves I was among the ignorant-Now I know and will be carefull not to be the fool.
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Old 03-03-2012, 22:52   #38
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

If memory serves, Boat US's Seaworthy magazine has looked at which marinas are most survivable for boats in a storm. For example, floating piers are good if the pillars the ride up and down on are tall enough. Fetch, orientation, seawalls, and all sorts of other things make a difference. I don't have the exact link, but a starting point might be BoatUS.com - Seaworthy Magazine .
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Old 04-03-2012, 00:50   #39
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
I feel like a dummy asking this question but here goes any way: I always here about cruising boats delaying their trips South to avoid hurricane season. Many boats won't head below the Chesapeake until after November due to restrictions on their insurance.
Imagine a rather weak tornado but 200mi diameter instead of 200yd. That's what the fuss is about.
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Old 04-03-2012, 17:50   #40
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Not only do I suck at grammar but my composition is lacking as well. I have never underestimated the power of a hurricane as my current thread title suggests. I have been through 2 serious hurricanes: Gloria and Bob, as well as "The Perfect Storm" which was actually worse in many ways.

I probably should have titled this thread, "what do live-aboards south of the Chesapeake do doing hurricane season?". It must be extremely stressful to always be on watch for home wrecking hurricanes. My plans are to cruise South in the fall but I will probably have to stop off after the Bahamas to replenish the kitty. Hurricane season weighs heavily on my decision making about where I might do that.

As has been suggested, the prepping for a storm is almost worse than the storm itself. If you are living aboard South of "the line" you must have to haul out or cut and run three or four times a year. I'm sure employers love that.
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Old 13-03-2012, 23:50   #41
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

I'm in the Coast Guard- as a first responder to Katrina and Ivan conducting fly overs I can say I have seen the power of these storms first hand. I also happen to know a fair amount about the workings of these storms; for my current assignment I went through a year long meteorology program on the coast of Mississippi, during which I had to shelter from a hurricane.

Although I have no experience trying to get a boat through a storm I am contemplating the issue as I've been assigned to the Virgin Islands and I'd like to have a boat.

The damage I have witnessed from these storms is typically not wind damage. The worst is caused by the giant tidal wave of water these storms push called a storm surge. Areas with large coastlines such as Florida and the gulf coast do not allow this water to go anywhere - so its forced onto land, this is how you see tanker-ships high and dry two miles from the coast. I'm also guessing its why insurance is higher in these areas. There is also a range within a hurricane that makes landfall between 75-150 miles out from the eye on the NE quadrant which is prone to generating Tornadoes, these of course result in the spectacular wind damage, but is usually quite concentrated. The next thing we see creating the most damage is flooding (associated more torrential downpour than storm surge). Water weighs a lot, when it comes down like it does in a hurricane it can wash away weak foundations, collapse roofs, and sink boats (especially when a bilge pump is faulty or simply cant keep up with the rate of rain fall).

When I look at the smaller Islands of the Caribbean a lot of these most damaging features of a hurricane are subdued by the natural features of small islands. Storm surge tends not to be as much of an issue as the water isn't forced on land, nor is flooding as the ocean provides pretty good drainage for most islands, and without major landfall you won't have the tornado quadrant. This leaves me thinking that the major hazard will be related more to wind damage and the debris associated with wind damage, which although is still a large gamble is much more manageable.
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Old 14-03-2012, 05:00   #42
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

Caribbean Bound,

Congratulations on the St. Thomas posting! You're gonna have fun there :-)

When hurricane Marilyn tracked across St. Thomas from East to West with 180 knot winds, she did colossal damage as you might imagine. And, as you noted, the tornados did even more.

I had a ham friend who was babysitting an upscale house near the eastern end of St. Thomas during the storm. He and I went sailing in my boat two days after the storm to visit the BVI islands, including Anegada.

He was staying in the house with his ham friend's wife during the storm. The house -- multi megabucks -- came down all around them.

Even more dramatically, his well-heeled friend had an antenna farm which consisted of five commercial radio towers, two of them at 150' I believe. Massively constructed, first-rate installation.

ALL FIVE TOWERS CAME DOWN, and they NEVER FOUND THREE OF THEM!

When we went sailing two days later, he was still in shock. Wind damage can be very severe in the islands.

BTW, the Virgin Islands had no serious hurricanes for some 35 years before 1989 when titanic-sized Hugo blasted in on St. Croix.

After that -- sort of breaking of the ice -- hurricanes came frequently for the next decade.

My boat, Born Free, was at Nanny Cay in Tortola (the best hurricane hole in the islands, IMHO) during five hurricanes in which the wind exceeded 100 knots in the harbour.

Best wishes on your assignment.

Bill
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Old 14-03-2012, 07:14   #43
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

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....

The damage I have witnessed from these storms is typically not wind damage. The worst is caused by the giant tidal wave of water these storms push called a storm surge. ....
Absolutely, storm surge does the most massive damage. So, if you can avoid the surge then that's a big help, but that said the wind speeds in a cat 4-5 can still wreak havoc.

I have talked to rangers out at the Dry Tortugas who have ridden out hurricanes in the fort there. They said the storm surge was relatively small -- lots of room for it to dissipate in the DTs. The fact that the old fort is still standing, and only a few feet at most above sea level, is a testament to that.
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Old 14-03-2012, 07:48   #44
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

The insurance question is a good one. I am in Texas, but MY insurance won't allow me to be in Florida during hurricane season. Yet here I was hit by three hurricanes in the last 7 years while the place I wanted to keep it in Florida was hit by ZERO.

The bottom line is insurance policy is made by a bunch of old ninnies that watch TOO much TV.

Of course it isn't helped by policy holders that take no care, saying "don't worry it's insured".

As far as taking hurricanes seriously I know what a bowling pin feels like during hurricane season, as I watch the line on screen getting closer, and closer to where I'm at, only to veer off a day away.

It is run and board up windows, move and secure boat, then just sunshine, and nothing. Then a few weeks later do it again, and again nothing,...for years. Then one day it doesn't veer, and your left with 12 hours of horizontal rain, the street in front of your house turns into a river, that creeps up your driveway, and up your front porch steps, step by step, until it starts running under your front door, you hear crashes; and shingles, tree branches, trash cans, fence boards, etc... richochet off of the boards you just nailed over your windows. The next day you see boats piled in a big heap in the middle of the freeway miles from water. Several of your neighbors houses are......gone....Another is piled in a heap in your front lawn....Your hot tub is missing, later you see in the news a reporter taking a picture of a hot tub that looks familiar in a tree several miles away. There is a smashed up water heater in the top of the tree in your back yard. There are piles of trash waist high everywhere, mixed with furnature, dead fish, seaweed, pieces of buildings, and clothes, and smelly mud, and sewage.

The power is out, the water is out, you have to fire up a gas powered generator to run the fridge, lights hot water, etc...are not going to happen, in one day you are back in the stone age.

Gas runs out on the generator in a few days, there are no open gas stations within driving distance. The gas stations that do open quickly run out of everything, including gas that they are pumping using a gas generator. The line that reaches several blocks doesn't move. It takes weeks to restore basic services, one month later my lights finally come back on. (is turned out the power lines go along side the river and were all washed out)

I would rather not go through another one.
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Old 14-03-2012, 08:00   #45
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Re: Hurricane Season: What's The Fuss

***Sigh*** Hurricanes are a pain in the ass no doubt, but with appropriate prep a well maintained boat will survive most hurricanes. When I say most I mean <Cat 3. Storm surge in a boat is a relative thing..... Wilma in Key West brought 10'; no big deal for a boat well secured... In Biloxi during Katrina there was 40+ FEET! The boats that survived that were up river spiderwebbed into trees on shore and tended 100% of the storm duration.

The worst storm I was in was Andrew. I was in the canal North of Flamingo and he passed directly overhead... ZERO damage. Second worst was Georges in Key West in a slip... Zero damage. The most damage I ever had to a boat was from a late summer thunderstorm that we had no warning time to prep for.
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