Last week on Thursday I chose to move my boat from a marina on the lower Chesapeake to a Hurricane
hole near the Dismal swamp and stay aboard. Staying aboard was a tough decision. Was it rationale or emotional? Probably a little of both. The following are some key take aways for the next one:
1. Haul out
whenever possible. I will not choose staying aboard in the future if at all possible.
2. If Haul out
is not possible choose a Hurricane
Hole with nearly 360 degree wind
shadow protection from trees. The smaller the better to a degree (tree height relative to your position) otherwise you will get severe wind
at some point during the storm. I saw the greatest winds (westerly) after eyewall passage
on the backside of the hurricane passage
3. 360 degree tether to shore is preferred. I used three 3/4" three strand and had three anchors out (CQR, Delta
and Fortress) and three lines to shore secured to trees with chafing gear
on trees and boat hardware
friction points. The more the better as long as your cleats
are numerous and beefy.
4. Mud is the poorest holding material. If your hurricane hole is filled with mud your anchors are useless. If your lucky (me) you will snag someones old car on the bottom.
5. Anticipate wind from all quadrants based on your position relative to the eyewall passage track. My main winds were from East to North and transitioned to NW and finally West. I was on the west side of the eyewall about 50 miles from center. The west wind was the greatest strain on my gear
based on my position in the NE corner of my chosen hurricane hole
Boat and Captain
came out without any dents. I motored against the west wind which in my mind was the rationale part of staying aboard. In this case it may have saved the boat from dragging anchors in poor bottom holding.
I learned alot about ground tackle, storm passages, bottom material, and my boat. It may have been a foolish decision in hindsight but this fool gained some wisdom in the process.
Many people locally stayed aboard their boats some at marinas
and others at other hurricane holes. Fortunately most fair well but not all:
2 rescued from sailboat off Ocean View | WVEC.com Norfolk - Hampton Roads
At least they made it out with their lives.