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Old 19-09-2017, 11:23   #1
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My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

My s/v, Otia, has survived cat 5 hurricane Irma in St Maarten. This is one tough cookie. It also had survived Gonzalo 3 years before (was a Cat 3 over St Maarten). It was moored at dock, well prepared of course. But very few boats survived. She's a 2005 40ft Bavaria. Here's a picture of her the next day after Irma, look at the sunken Hatteras in the background:

This is in Porto Cupecoy, in St Maarten. Irma's track center line is directly on it.
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Old 19-09-2017, 11:34   #2
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

From the boats that made it in the Keys, it appears a lot of luck was involved. Looks like you were in a great spot with little danger of boats dragging into you. Doubt the Bavaria "toughness" had much to do with it.
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Old 19-09-2017, 11:43   #3
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Completely stripping the boat was a major contributing factor in survival...

Well done.
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Old 19-09-2017, 11:48   #4
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
Doubt the Bavaria "toughness" had much to do with it.
LOL - I was expecting to get that in this mostly american forum.
Actually it's not about "Bavaria". This particular boat design and construction is pretty good. I could go on about it, but that's not the point of this thread. She also had survived Gonzalo, and a major storm out in the Atlantic (sustained 50 kts for 36 hours).
You make your luck. Yes she was in a good spot, I selected this spot many years ago for its protection. Many boats were sunken around, like the Hatteras in the background. She was also very well tied up. I had ran chains around concrete pilings to tie her up from many points, to the cleats and to the winches. I used chafe protection everywhere there was a risk of chafing. And more...
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Old 19-09-2017, 11:51   #5
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

It sounds like you have not just plenty of good luck but also a great dock with above average protection.

Keep the dock! It may be actually priceless.

Well done. Happy for your luck!

BTW What were the most damaging factors that gave most destruction to other boats in your area?

Cheers,
b.
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Old 19-09-2017, 12:13   #6
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
What were the most damaging factors that gave most destruction to other boats in your area?
Many things:
Lines that chafed - I used chafing protection all over
Cleats that came off - I tied up to winches, not just cleats. I also did not trust the dock's cleats and used chains around piling to tie up lines.
Boats hitting the docks and then taking on water, often because of broken lines due to chafing or cleats not holding.
The location was good. We also ran lines accros the entry to avoid having loose boats coming in.

There's a boat that - I couldn't believe it at first - got its deck hatches torn off by the wind!!! Then it got filled by water :/ the wind was extremely strong. As I wrote initially, Irma tracked directly over us. For instance, all of the utility boxes got ripped off the docks! We found one "stamped" in a building :/
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Old 19-09-2017, 13:00   #7
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Your onto it Otia.
Until the next one maybe so i wish you luck.
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Old 19-09-2017, 13:49   #8
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

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Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
Doubt the Bavaria "toughness" had much to do with it.

Here's a Bavaria stern cleat perhaps the length of a man's forearm. With the appropriate backing plate it is that much stronger.

Walk the docks at a boat show and compare to the average builder. I'm not advocating for Bavaria in particular but I do support quality deck hardware as shown here.

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Adding to my hurricane prep checklist:

- inspect the cleats of nearby boats
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Old 19-09-2017, 15:06   #9
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondBase View Post
I'm not advocating for Bavaria in particular but I do support quality deck hardware as shown here
I guess it will be difficult to avoid the Bavaria bashing. In my opinion they are well built, but they are "economical boats". Yes inspect your cleats, and your keel. Yes the keel issue... The fact is Bavaria boats have been used extensively by charter companies and often have been grounded by their customers, leading to water infiltration in a steel keel, leading to corrosion, leading to catastrophic tragedies. My Bavaria has a deep lead keel. Yet, keel inspection, rigging inspection, rudder inspection... regular inspection of it all is essential to avoid problems.

The Bavaria cleats, like many other boat brands, are made in aluminium. This is fine as long as there is no air or water infiltration causing corrosion and in time causing delamination and weakening of the structure surrounding the cleat fixture.

I tied up my boat to the cleats and to the winches.
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Old 19-09-2017, 15:43   #10
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Glad you made it! Chains around pilings was a big factor but your planning was impeccable and I think even you would admit a bit lucky.
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Old 19-09-2017, 15:55   #11
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Congrats....exploiting every edge makes your luck that much better.
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Old 19-09-2017, 16:04   #12
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Otia, from what I saw on Gg Earth, your boat was circled by close 5 story buildings that probably protected from high wind (OK not the Hateras), the biggest chalenge was probably the storm surge. With a 20ft surge, How did you manage it avoiding the boat reaching the limit of the lines... I see no big 10ft poles
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Old 19-09-2017, 16:47   #13
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.
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Old 19-09-2017, 17:40   #14
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Did shrimpies get leveled? Do you have a pulse on the cruising commumiry there? Any word from mason on out of Africa and Paul on free spirit?
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Old 19-09-2017, 17:55   #15
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Re: My boat survived Irma in St Maarten

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falbala60 View Post
Otia, from what I saw on Gg Earth, your boat was circled by close 5 story buildings that probably protected from high wind (OK not the Hateras), the biggest chalenge was probably the storm surge. With a 20ft surge, How did you manage it avoiding the boat reaching the limit of the lines... I see no big 10ft poles
The surge was minimal because this is in the lagoon; maybe 3ft surge. And yes the lines were planned accordingly.
The surrounding buildings are a mixed blessing. They can provide protection but they can also funnel the wind at higher intensities. Like when you moor in a narrow bay surrounded by high mountains.
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