I've not had the floorboards come up but then they are a bear to get up anyway and there are not many on my boat bigger than about 10 inches that don't have hinges. On the other hand I've had just about everything else not tied down and a few things that were tied down, like TV's flying about. I went through two TV's that were strapped down, torn out and sent across the cabin
, as well as pots, pans, and so on.
One time was coming back from the Dry Tortugas
, the winds were around 30 kt but the killer was a vicious, steep cross sea. VHF radio
is out of range in the Tortugas and I could not get the park rangers to give me a forecast
. Their much taller radio
tower could receive but I guess for perceived liability they would not relay the forecast
. Apparently there was a tropical depression approaching Texas
when we left the fort and it made for a miserable night. At 3 am my wind generator
tower decided it want to be gone and I ended up hanging over the stern trying to retrieve it. It was far too rough to use the stove and I would have dearly loved a cup of coffee. Roughly 20 hours later, it calmed enough for me to put on an oven
mitt and hold a pot of water
onto the stove. So, I had no forecasting since I didn't have a SSB
The second time, coming home from Key West
, there had been zero wind
all the previous day and that night. We didn't even have the sail covers off. Just about dawn we started to pick up VHF
and although broken up we could make out "Severe Weather
Alert". It was just about then that there was enough light to see the blackest sky on the horizon that I could remember. Ten minutes later we were in it. We went from 0 kt to 30 to 40 and gusts to 55 kt in a matter of minutes. A severe squall line. Since we left from Key West
, I did have the weather
but this was not in it. We spent about 3 hours in that one. Since the water
on the west coast
is shallow, like about 15-30 ft where we were, you can imagine what that wind
did to the sea state.
Does it happen often? No thank god or I'd have a Winnebago. On the other hand, my wife refuses to leave the dock
unless EVERYTHING other than a pillow is secured. When I ride my motorcycle, I'm wearing about $1,000 worth of safety gear
in the form of helmet, special jacket, and special boots. I don't expect to crash or be crashed but I wear it just in case.
In my opinion, locking down floorboards, reefer covers, and the bloody stove, they are all optional. You pays your money
you takes your choice. For myself, a lot of these type of things are weekend projects. Why not, and feel secure and then not have to wonder?
Reading what I just typed makes me think I'm being a bit melodramatic, perhaps so. Its just that I've learned most forecasts suck, that 10-15 easily becomes 20-30. My wife's first voyage was supposed to be for 10-15 and ended up 40kt. Sea state is even harder to predict especially if there is a cross sea in our shallow water. So bottom line, I prefer to prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't show up.
With respect to all of you with better skills, and experience,