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Old 29-10-2011, 20:25   #1
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How to Ride Out a Storm

We are planning to buy a live aboard and sail the gulf and islands. We are aware this is hurricane prone waters and destinations.

We are fair weather cruisers so our boat will be at some port when one of these storms arrive. Chances are we will be in some inland motel but our boat will be in the harbor. What precautions and dock tying methods will protect our boat (home)?

One seasoned sailor told us he actually stays aboard his boat during hurricanes claiming it is safer than his home. I am not as much afraid of my boat as the things that may come loose and slam into my boat. I think I will pass on his advice.

Any suggestions how we can protect our investment will be greatly appreciated. And yes, I will be insured. I also know that insurance company's like to find loop holes so they do not have to pay so any suggestions along those lines will be helpful as well.
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Old 29-10-2011, 20:54   #2
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Re: How to ride out a storm

Have the insurance company send their rules and coverage guidelines .... the rules they will apply during claim evaluation.
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Old 29-10-2011, 21:08   #3
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pirate Re: How to ride out a storm

Doubt you'll find many companies willing to offer coverage afloat during hurricane season....
Why don't you just do what others do....
Go South young man....
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Old 29-10-2011, 22:03   #4
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Re: How to ride out a storm

Chafe protection, lots of chafe protection. Check the pilings at the marina you are at to make sure the dock fingers will not rise above them during the storm surge.
Cross tie to two finger docks with your boat in the middle tied from both sides to the dock. boat in the middle at least a few feet from the closest finger. Fenders will pop so don't tie only one side to the dock. Fetch is the enemy, not the wind, so pick your dock accordingly. I also tend to pray a lot.

Unless you are tied up to the dock at a your insurance company approved "hurricane hole" marina, I expect they will not cover you.

I live and sail in a hurricane zone, most years this is no big deal, some years it causes more worries then others, it is just part of the show. I have never had more damage then fender rash from a close one. .

Now tsunami's, they are the real pain and you should be happy not have those where you are.

One thing that took me a while to get through my head was that no matter what I did, no matter how much I plan, maintain, or learn. Someday something probably would happen and I could loose the boat. I can only hope that the boat is tied to the dock and I am in a hotel.
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Old 29-10-2011, 22:07   #5
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Re: How to ride out a storm

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Originally Posted by Lance835 View Post
One seasoned sailor told us he actually stays aboard his boat during hurricanes claiming it is safer than his home. I am not as much afraid of my boat as the things that may come loose and slam into my boat. I think I will pass on his advice.

Any suggestions how we can protect our investment will be greatly appreciated. And yes, I will be insured. I also know that insurance company's like to find loop holes so they do not have to pay so any suggestions along those lines will be helpful as well.
And that's a good reason to stay on the boat in a storm. It's hard to protect an investment if it's abandoned in the worst weather. Unless one has set the boat out before and knows it's ability, one should not take it for granted that it'll be there after the storm.

Sailing off for a hurricane hole w/o any experience of even small storms is asking for trouble. Like 61 said, most cruising people take their boat out of the area during the season. You'll pay a premium one way or the other.
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Old 30-10-2011, 11:11   #6
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

A word from the "been there done that" cruisers. We have cruised the hurricane belt since 95 and I got to say if you can avoid the hurricane season by going south of 12 degrees north, do it. We have sat out Cat 1's safetly nestled in the mangroves of the Florida Keys. Rode out at least 5 tropical storms on anchor and at the dock without even so much as a spilled Cuba Libra. All in all, no real worries at least until September of 04, and then there was Ivan. Ouch! 18 foot storm surge, 120 Kt winds, and nothing to prepare us but 9 years of pleasant experiences. We survived but the boat not so well.

There are those of us that will insist on a strong mooring and plenty of chafe protection. Others will say that a boat on the hard will endure the big wind. Maybe there is the perfect stratagy but the cold hard truth is when the wind blows 120 and the seas answer that call there is nowhere to run, there is nowhere to seek comfort. There is only a good wind storm policy (almost a misnomer), high ground, and hopefully a strong stone castle to help buffet the wind.

So my advice for cruising during hurricane season: learn Spanish and plan a nice summer cruise somewhere south of 12 degrees north. Once your calender hits November 30th the Carribbean will again welcome you with it's pleasant trades and warm winter nights. Kick back and enjoy your favorite rum abundant boat drink while safely nestled in your one particular harbor; all this while blissfully ignorant of the latest tropical update.
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Old 30-10-2011, 12:55   #7
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

Wise, wise words NH.




"When crossing oceans and things go wrong......... man-up and eat that crew member !"
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Old 30-10-2011, 13:28   #8
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

I would start with NOT having the boat in the hurricane area during the hurricane season.

b.
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Old 03-11-2011, 15:24   #9
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

I've had to ride out two hurricanes, (Ike, and Rita), and a couple of tropical storms, (cammile, and Alison).

None of them were fun, but my boat did survive them without damage, while many others were destroyed.

My technique is to get as far from the coast as I can, by going up an inland river, or canal, and tying off with as many lines as you can, two per cleat, 7/8" or better. Don't forget to leave anough slack for the projected storm surge, plus a few feet.

Insure that that amount of slack won't allow your boat to hit anything at height it will be during storm.

Use lots of chaff protection, even with these precautions, both hurricanes I lost two lines, (out of 16).

Remove ALL canvas, and anything from deck. Shut off all power except bilge pumps, Close all thru hulls. Top off batteries.

Don't wait until the last minute to find a hurricane hole, the good ones fill up fast, (up to a week ahead). As soon as the weather announces the hurricane has entered Gulf, plan on it hitting you directly. You only have to be right once.

I have done the whole hurricane prep thing several times only to have it turn to Mexico, or Florida, N.O., etc... It didn't stop me from doing it again.

Buy hurricane insurance now, don't wait for hurricane season, you will not be able to buy it. Make sure you understand their requirements for coverage, and comply with them.

I spend my whole boating time in "hurricane alley", You just have to keep a close eye on the weather, and stay close to safety, during hurricane season.

And never stay on the boat during the storm, unless you have no choice, several boats in the marina were sunk when other boats broke loose, and went flying.
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Old 03-11-2011, 16:46   #10
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance835 View Post
We are planning to buy a live aboard and sail the gulf and islands. We are aware this is hurricane prone waters and destinations.

We are fair weather cruisers so our boat will be at some port when one of these storms arrive. Chances are we will be in some inland motel but our boat will be in the harbor. What precautions and dock tying methods will protect our boat (home)?

One seasoned sailor told us he actually stays aboard his boat during hurricanes claiming it is safer than his home. I am not as much afraid of my boat as the things that may come loose and slam into my boat. I think I will pass on his advice.

Any suggestions how we can protect our investment will be greatly appreciated. And yes, I will be insured. I also know that insurance company's like to find loop holes so they do not have to pay so any suggestions along those lines will be helpful as well.
YOUR FRIEND IS FOOLISH. DO NOT STAY ON YOUR BOAT IN A HURRICANE.
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Old 03-11-2011, 17:04   #11
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

All good advice, but do not discount anchoring in good wind protected area. Living and operating on US east coast and FL for over 30 years I have had many boats ride storms nicely at anchor while marinas were destroyed. it does not matter how well you tie boat to dock once the dock comes apart. However, I have had to ride at dock also when time did not allow moving to a hole. It is all situational dependent. Both cases chafe is the enemy. Lots of line (double anchor), chafe protection. Then get off boat and seek shelter ashore. Insurance is cheap. life not so cheap.
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Old 03-11-2011, 17:22   #12
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

I think the best way to ride out a storm is at a bar..............far away from the storm........... with beer...........and chicken wings........and pizza..........and a football game........and dancing girls.......on poles.......and........

missing any of these and it is just plain going to suck!
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Old 03-11-2011, 17:29   #13
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

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All good advice, but do not discount anchoring in good wind protected area. Living and operating on US east coast and FL for over 30 years I have had many boats ride storms nicely at anchor while marinas were destroyed. it does not matter how well you tie boat to dock once the dock comes apart. However, I have had to ride at dock also when time did not allow moving to a hole. It is all situational dependent. Both cases chafe is the enemy. Lots of line (double anchor), chafe protection. Then get off boat and seek shelter ashore. Insurance is cheap. life not so cheap.
Many people here move their boats to the center of a sheltered canal and then tie the boat up to trees on shore. My dad's tugboat company used to take the tugboats and barges into the Everglades and tie them up there.
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Old 03-11-2011, 17:55   #14
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance835 View Post
We are planning to buy a live aboard and sail the gulf and islands. We are aware this is hurricane prone waters and destinations.

We are fair weather cruisers so our boat will be at some port when one of these storms arrive. Chances are we will be in some inland motel but our boat will be in the harbor. What precautions and dock tying methods will protect our boat (home)?

One seasoned sailor told us he actually stays aboard his boat during hurricanes claiming it is safer than his home. I am not as much afraid of my boat as the things that may come loose and slam into my boat. I think I will pass on his advice.

Any suggestions how we can protect our investment will be greatly appreciated. And yes, I will be insured. I also know that insurance company's like to find loop holes so they do not have to pay so any suggestions along those lines will be helpful as well.
BoatUS has very extensive hurricane preparation guidelines. You can "register" on their site for free and download a lot of very useful information. You need do this well in advance of ever getting within spitting distance of foul weather so that you are properly prepared when the time comes.
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Old 03-11-2011, 17:59   #15
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Re: How to Ride Out a Storm

if in a hidey hole and threatened---or on the hard an threatened---or in a marina in a hidey hole and looking at a close one---
h1-2 stay with boat. hunker down
h3-4 out the door--
h5 we all gonna die.

friends in oriental, n.c. waited out irene in theirs on the hard sans rudder-- we agreed on this one.. we were waiting for hurrycames to hit here all summer but we lucked out well this year. is a scary thought having hurrycames coming at your area-- but preplanning is good. i followed the advice of native mexicans from mazatlan who are shrimpers and water men. watch weather like hawk.
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