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Old 28-08-2010, 18:42   #1
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Solar Panels and Tropical Storm Earl

Hi all;

Tropical Storm Earl looks like it is going to make it's way to North Carolina. Gretchen is on the boat right now getting the sails down and lines doubled. We have two 120w panels up high on an aluminum arch. The arch is pretty wide, and lines right up with the pilings, so could touch if things get really rolly. The panels are in from the edges of the arch by a good foot. Each is held on by four DX enginering saddle clamps that are mounted in turn to aluminum pipe crossing the arch at right angles. Our marina is pretty protected, and has never lost a boat in a hurricane.

So the question is, should she take them down? I am stuck at work and cannot get down, she can do it, but it will be a big effort and she will have to find help.

Chris
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Old 28-08-2010, 19:27   #2
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All the models have it passing offshore of NC. You'll probably just get some wind and rain, no worse than a T-storm but lasting longer.
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Old 28-08-2010, 19:35   #3
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So the question is, should she take them down?
On the last boat the panel did 90 mph just fine and it didn't budge. Take down sails and canvas. No sense being a fool. Not sure what the max is but if you get more than that you best be some place else and find out when you get back.
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Old 28-08-2010, 20:04   #4
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Chris, We had 3, 85 watt panels and depending on the storms potential and what we expected, sometimes we left them up and other times took them down. It is always good to be prepared well in advance but it might be a bit premature at this point. There is a strong trough of low pressure forecast to come off the east coast on Friday and if the forecast holds could recurve Earl out to sea. NHC is giving Earl a 30% chance of making landfall and many of the forecasters are calling for about a 20% chance. But better safe than sorry. We have done the drill all too often with our sailboat Sea Trek. She weathered 15 named storms, 12 of them hurricanes. We are just lucky I guess. Stay safe. Chuck
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Old 28-08-2010, 22:34   #5
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We never took our panels down anywhere in the world in bad weather. I can't say that I ever thought about removing them for a tropical storm or hurricane. The way they are attached to the davits, they are a bit like spoilers on a car - probably not a bad thing to have in a catamaran when the wind is blowing really hard. They probably force the stern down and make wind induced capsize less likely.
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Old 29-08-2010, 05:12   #6
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If I read it right, the OP is concerned about damage from striking the pilings, not having them blown off!

to the OP: If I were worried about any part of my boat striking the piles, I would not weather the storm in that slip!
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Old 29-08-2010, 07:18   #7
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I don' think the panels themselves could hit the pilings, but the arch sure could in really bad conditions, if the wind and waves were broadside. The pilings are smooth fiberglass, and the arch aluminum, so I don't think there would be much damage from this.
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Old 29-08-2010, 07:38   #8
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Usually its the storm surge where the issue dockside occurs. unless you have really tall pilings. If you've ever seen it before it rises like filling a bath tub. I watched In RI as the floating piers went to the top of the pilings. I think that was hurricane Bob.
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Old 29-08-2010, 11:41   #9
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In our case, storm surge might both be a blesssing and a curse. We have fixed docks. and as I have been told form past Hurricanes here, the water has gotten up to chest height on the docks. This means that the arch might actually clear the tops of the pilings, so that might be good, unless if it catches the tops. ;>
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Old 29-08-2010, 12:25   #10
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If you're thinking, and texting, the idea of taking them down, then the answer is YES.

When preparing for storm weather it's important to clear the decks and remove anything that can either cause added windage, damage, or fly off. That would include bimini, dodger, jerry cans, tender, and sails.

If you're unwilling to take the sails down, then I highly recommend taking some spare line and wrapping the sail to the boom. I also recommend wrapping additional line around the jib, just in case. I've seen otherwise well prepared boats flog their jib to death and in several cases, the flogging jib was a major cause of loss.

Don't forget surge, chafe, and other vessels in the vicinity. You might consider moving to a less crowded slip and taking every precaution.
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Old 30-08-2010, 20:00   #11
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Another trip down to the boat...



I was just searching for some info. regarding hurricanes and solar panels to see if I should go back down to the boat since I prepped everything but these...to find a very specific post by my husband! Now that is a great forum when you can find information not just specific to the topic you are looking for, but for your actual boat!

So, Earl is still heading our way, gaining strength as my intuition told me he would...with a name like Earl, it is a given.

I will be heading back down and removing the suckers and trying to position our boat in the slip so our arch will not be an issue.

This marina is incredible...they have been through years of hurricanes and I have never lost a boat...or maybe it was just one...they have the burgees in the office to prove it.

Ok, this should be fun trying to remove them after depowering them with either a blanket or at night so they don't short...Earl, you better be worth it!
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Old 30-08-2010, 20:04   #12
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p.s. I cleared everything off the decks and took down both sails and flaked...capt douglas you would be proud. I was just too damn tired from the last couple weeks of stuff going on in our life to actually stay and take down the panels...
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:21   #13
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Gotta say I'm surprised you're being allowed to stay in the slip. Across the river over here in Beaufort, and everywhere I've been in FL, (I don't normally stay in marinas so this is limited data) marina owners make one sign papers guaranteeing you'll get the boat out of the marina in the path of a storm.

Indeed, boatyard owners have developed a hurricane "insurance" plan: you pay a fee, I think a couple of hundred is common, which allows you to be put on the haulout list. You lose the dough whether you need it or not but for many, this is the only reasonable option if say, you own a boat but don't know jack about how or what to do when the rain hits the fan as it appears it will here this week.

Sailors I know here are not quick to reveal their storm plans for fear of finding 20 boats up "their" creek when they get there. My plan is: [omitted for "security" reasons ... my security]

I used to belong to a sailing club with moorings in Miami. You had to vacate the mooring for big storms. Many folks were clueless about what to do so they did nothing. This caused them to lose their mooring rights, allowing someone on the waiting list to move up; a source of great happiness for the "winner".

Good luck to us all!
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:52   #14
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The marina is very protected, and is one of the few "Hurricane holes" in the area. We are there in part because the DO let us stay, the only marina in the area that does.

They have an active plan to monitor and adjust lines during storms up to cat 4. We are required to storm prep the boats, and put a 100' line in the cockpit, that can be used to cross the pilings of the row behind us. The marina staff puts these lines in place, along with some volunteers.

They have a good record - no boat losses or significant damage to any boats, through I think 3-4 hurricanes?

If Earl does hit, we will obviously have some first hand experience how things faired. Corssing fingers....

Chris

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Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
Gotta say I'm surprised you're being allowed to stay in the slip. Across the river over here in Beaufort, and everywhere I've been in FL, (I don't normally stay in marinas so this is limited data) marina owners make one sign papers guaranteeing you'll get the boat out of the marina in the path of a storm.

Indeed, boatyard owners have developed a hurricane "insurance" plan: you pay a fee, I think a couple of hundred is common, which allows you to be put on the haulout list. You lose the dough whether you need it or not but for many, this is the only reasonable option if say, you own a boat but don't know jack about how or what to do when the rain hits the fan as it appears it will here this week.

Sailors I know here are not quick to reveal their storm plans for fear of finding 20 boats up "their" creek when they get there. My plan is: [omitted for "security" reasons ... my security]

I used to belong to a sailing club with moorings in Miami. You had to vacate the mooring for big storms. Many folks were clueless about what to do so they did nothing. This caused them to lose their mooring rights, allowing someone on the waiting list to move up; a source of great happiness for the "winner".

Good luck to us all!
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Old 31-08-2010, 12:08   #15
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Originally Posted by High Heels View Post
p.s. I cleared everything off the decks and took down both sails and flaked...capt douglas you would be proud. I was just too damn tired from the last couple weeks of stuff going on in our life to actually stay and take down the panels...
Tired!?

In the summer of 1993, I was working as a deckie/snorkel guide in St. Thomas. We had 3 cat 4+ hurricanes in 3 weeks, with Marilyn doing the nasty.

Prep the boat. Restore the boat. Prep the boat. Restore the boat. As we prepared for the third storm there was grumbling about the first two missing us and that this prepare for doom thing was getting way old.

Of the 70+ boats in Charlotte Amalie, including a Coast Guard cutter, only 6 were found floating after the storm. The cutter went first. Mine was one of the six.

Tired doesn't begin to compare to watching your vessel flog itself into the stack on the beach or 20' up onto the quay.

You did the right thing, High Heels.
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