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Old 17-09-2014, 09:47   #1
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Hurricane Prep

Newbie question here:

I just got back from a week in St Thomas, and I saw more sailboats down there than I expected for hurricane season. How does one prepare oneself, and the boat, for hurricane season? I know long passages are pretty much a no-no, but aside from leaving the Caribbean altogether, how does one get through a storm? Docked/anchored/moored?
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Old 17-09-2014, 11:45   #2
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Re: Hurricane prep

One gets their boat away from the hurricane track.

If one gets caught they get caught. Seek protection from 1) surge, 2) waves 3) wind. Take down EVERYTHING you can: furling genoas, dodgers, mains and stackpacks, etc. etc. If anchored, look around and see who will likely end up on top of you. If viable, drive her deep into mangrooves. Etc. If in the marina, double up the lines and triple up the fenders. If in a boatyard, tie her down. And so on and so forth.

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Old 17-09-2014, 12:04   #3
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Re: Hurricane prep

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
One gets their boat away from the hurricane track.

If one gets caught they get caught. Seek protection from 1) surge, 2) waves 3) wind. Take down EVERYTHING you can: furling genoas, dodgers, mains and stackpacks, etc. etc. If anchored, look around and see who will likely end up on top of you. If viable, drive her deep into mangrooves. Etc. If in the marina, double up the lines and triple up the fenders. If in a boatyard, tie her down. And so on and so forth.

b.
That's pretty much what I figured. Like I said, I expected to see fewer boats down there, and few of them were dock tied. Thanks for the response
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Old 17-09-2014, 14:08   #4
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Re: Hurricane prep

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Originally Posted by rb1685 View Post
That's pretty much what I figured. Like I said, I expected to see fewer boats down there, and few of them were dock tied. Thanks for the response
Amazing sometimes the impressions we get about hurricanes. If one believed it all, no one would live in any coastal area or on any island.

For St. Thomas...

Last hurricane was 2011, Irene, 60 mph south of the island so no damage.
2010, Earl, maximum gusts 69 mph, damage to roads and power lines
2000, Lenny, winds 53 mph, gusts to 70, minimal damage
1999, Jose and Debby, both tropical storms to 75 mph, minor damage
1998, Georges, 110 mph, caused 55 boats to sink
1996, Bertha, 85 mph, damaged a school roof
1995, Marilyn, 105 mph, distroyed 40% of the homes and 80% of businesses
1995, Luis, passed away from island, only brushed
1990, Klaus, tropical storm
1989, Hugo, 130 mph but south of island, did damage hotels on south side
1984, Klaus, tropical storm (yes Klaus was 84 and 90)
1981, Gert, tropical storm
1979, Claudette and Frederic, both tropical storms
1966, Faith, only brushed
1960, Donna, passed north

So that's not saying there is no risk. A little less than Galveston though, which is the nearest coastal area to you, I believe. In 55 years two major damages. The average direct hit from a hurricane is every 8.35 years and those mostly Category 1 and 2. St. Thomas is like most places on the coast or islands, people live there. People play there. A lot are not able or desiring running elsewhere for hurricane season. Plus where would they go? I find the cutoff some insurers give on the East Coast of the US a bit ridiculous. They tell you to keep the boat north. Well, how did that work out for Sandy?

And if one hits while you happen to be there and you're unable to leave, then secure your boat the best you can, but protect yourself far beyond your boat. And, as to St. Thomas, loss of life from hurricanes is virtually nil. They don't get Category 4 and 5. Well, did have one that might have sneaked into the bottom of a 4 in Hugo but it passed by on the South.

Now, each person has to make their own choice in this matter. But I do encourage doing it based on information that can be easily found rather than assumption the area is too risky to be there. Oh, and the 8.35 years between direct hits. That's the same as Long Island, NY.
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Old 17-09-2014, 14:17   #5
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Re: Hurricane prep

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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Amazing sometimes the impressions we get about hurricanes. If one believed it all, no one would live in any coastal area or on any island.

For St. Thomas...

Last hurricane was 2011, Irene, 60 mph south of the island so no damage.
2010, Earl, maximum gusts 69 mph, damage to roads and power lines
2000, Lenny, winds 53 mph, gusts to 70, minimal damage
1999, Jose and Debby, both tropical storms to 75 mph, minor damage
1998, Georges, 110 mph, caused 55 boats to sink
1996, Bertha, 85 mph, damaged a school roof
1995, Marilyn, 105 mph, distroyed 40% of the homes and 80% of businesses
1995, Luis, passed away from island, only brushed
1990, Klaus, tropical storm
1989, Hugo, 130 mph but south of island, did damage hotels on south side
1984, Klaus, tropical storm (yes Klaus was 84 and 90)
1981, Gert, tropical storm
1979, Claudette and Frederic, both tropical storms
1966, Faith, only brushed
1960, Donna, passed north

So that's not saying there is no risk. A little less than Galveston though, which is the nearest coastal area to you, I believe. In 55 years two major damages. The average direct hit from a hurricane is every 8.35 years and those mostly Category 1 and 2. St. Thomas is like most places on the coast or islands, people live there. People play there. A lot are not able or desiring running elsewhere for hurricane season. Plus where would they go? I find the cutoff some insurers give on the East Coast of the US a bit ridiculous. They tell you to keep the boat north. Well, how did that work out for Sandy?

And if one hits while you happen to be there and you're unable to leave, then secure your boat the best you can, but protect yourself far beyond your boat. And, as to St. Thomas, loss of life from hurricanes is virtually nil. They don't get Category 4 and 5. Well, did have one that might have sneaked into the bottom of a 4 in Hugo but it passed by on the South.

Now, each person has to make their own choice in this matter. But I do encourage doing it based on information that can be easily found rather than assumption the area is too risky to be there. Oh, and the 8.35 years between direct hits. That's the same as Long Island, NY.

Very good points. I've been through two major hurricanes in the last decade. I was without power for a week after Ike. Galveston was obliterated. I think a lot of it has to do with storm surge and the gained intensity a storm gets in the Gulf.

Last week, I did some diving on the Cartanza Senora which was picked up, moved, and split into three pieces by Hurricane Hugo. The power of these storms never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 17-09-2014, 14:47   #6
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Re: Hurricane Prep

We are now in Galveston at Harborwalk Marina. If there is TS, maybe up to Cat 1, I'll strip the boat and throw as many lines on as I can. Good floating docks here, with pilings high enough to stand some significant surge. If it's going to be a major storm, we'll run south as far as necessary, or head to Louisiana. I'm right on the ditch, and can be underway very quickly.

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Old 17-09-2014, 15:32   #7
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Re: Hurricane Prep

Mangroves are your friends, they offer amazing protection. Hurricane prediciton is pretty good now, and early action is the key. Another possible option that could help is if you can get insurance for named storms, costly, but would help in case of needing a new boat. I don't know if such insurance would be available for you or a meaningful option (prohibitively expensive).

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Old 17-09-2014, 19:30   #8
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Re: Hurricane Prep

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Mangroves are your friends, they offer amazing protection. Hurricane prediciton is pretty good now, and early action is the key. Another possible option that could help is if you can get insurance for named storms, costly, but would help in case of needing a new boat. I don't know if such insurance would be available for you or a meaningful option (prohibitively expensive).
Ann
It depends largely on the insurer and policy, Ann. We're paying very little more to have no location or storm exclusions. Fact is, if you are going to keep your boat on water, then it's subject to various storms. Look at the times storms and tornadoes have ripped through marinas on the Tennessee River.
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