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Old 14-05-2016, 11:14   #1
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Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Believe it or not I've gotten very mixed opinions from people about this question.

For a big big storm, do you continue to stay aboard.....or go find a place ashore for the night? I'm talking tropical depression stuff. Caribbean. Hurricane season.

I see the side which says, "definitely stay aboard in case she drags and/or breaks free", or, "keep the motor running and bilge pump going"

But also, "get a hotel and keep yourself safer" sounds reasonable as well.

PRO: Stay aboard and tend to the boat during the storm.
CON: If she breaks loose in a hurricane....is there anything you can do anyway? My engine isn't going to be very effective against very strong winds, will it?

What are your thoughts? Or any past experiences?
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Old 14-05-2016, 11:22   #2
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

The answer may depend in part on what kind of insurance you have..

But my inclination would be to stay with the boat in all but the worst conditions.

I have no experience in this, FYI, just theorizing.
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Old 14-05-2016, 11:24   #3
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

A boat is replaceable, you are not. Take all precautions and get to high ground.
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Old 14-05-2016, 11:50   #4
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

I'm with Rex on this. If you've ever been out in 60+ knots it's humbling and scary. I've never been aboard in anything over about 70k but fortunately we were on a strong mooring in a safe harbor. I'd prep the boat as much as possible and find safe shelter ashore if it's an option. I can only imagine 100+. That's what insurance is for.
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Old 14-05-2016, 12:10   #5
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

I would default to saving my life. But really it's about what kind f place you have for the boat. Fully enclosed mangroves? and a low category storm? maybe stay. A cat 5 storm? No way.
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Old 14-05-2016, 12:25   #6
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmattiola View Post
Believe it or not I've gotten very mixed opinions from people about this question.
.................................................. .......

Sure, I believe it! I've done both an thought that the decision was proper each time.

The best times to leave the boat and stay ashore are with a young family and small children or when, after securing at your best, breaking free will put you on the rocks.

The best times to stay are when you are tucked far up the head of a protected creek and in a position to actually function and, if you can't recover from a drag, you'll end up on a forgiving shore.

We've done both several times,- 'never had more than some minor rub rail damage. 'been some luck involved too!
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Old 14-05-2016, 12:38   #7
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Depends on if you value your boat or your life more.

I would have no qualms staying aboard in a tropical storm in a good anchorage, maybe even a Cat 1.

No way I would stay aboard in a major hurricane unless i had no safe way to get ashore. Why risk your life for a boat?
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Old 14-05-2016, 12:49   #8
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Not the sort of thing one can make hard and fast rules for.


There are times and places when you will be safer on the boat than ashore and others when ashore is the only place to be.


Take for example the tsunami which killed tens of thousands of people in SE Asia at new years a few years ago. Acquaintances were on a yacht which experienced the wave and had no damage to themselves or the boat, the town ashore was destroyed with numerous casualties.


Cyclones (hurricanes) regularly strike tropical cities in Australia without causing casualties but Australia has a fairly strict building code and compliance regime so the buildings stay together and consequently are reasonably secure places to cringe in.


However there are many places in the world where casualty rates from tropical storms are high because the buildings are not properly designed or built for severe storm conditions and provided your boat can be secured in a good sheltered anchorage you may well be safer on it than ashore amongst failing buildings and the airborne debris they create.


In each instance you must make a risk assessment and act upon it.
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Old 14-05-2016, 12:51   #9
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Look, up to 60 or 70 knts you are useless in the boat, that's a Cat 1 upward , unless you want to sport a swim mask and risk your life at the throttle make you a favor and if the conditions looks bad, go and found a place ashore, windlass and anchors are set and later you cant do nothing if you have a boat dragging on you or you dragging to others, engines are preety useless to in big storms unless you have plenty of HP, is just a fool idea ,,, talking by the experience to see a bunch of canes in St Marteen and the dramas later....
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Old 14-05-2016, 12:57   #10
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

A fool and his life are soon parted.

I have been aboard Sea Life in 2 cyclone/hurricanes.
1 in the Great Barrier reef Catagory 5 that veered at the last moment. If it hit directly i would have been dead. As too my girlfriend.

2nd was in the Caribbean in Cat 2 Hurricane Gonzalo 2 years ago on a hurricane mooring. By the time it spun up it was too late to get ashore. It hit us directly.

Only 1 person died. Miracle.

The only sane place to be is ashore.
Only fools stay on board.
I was a fool twice. Cheated death twice.

Only a fool stays on board.

The OP says: tropical depression in Hurricane season. That's below a hurricane/cyclone. They are fine to stay on board being prepared in case you drag; ready to help others that do, etc. But that's a TD... not a hurricane.

Sent from a stupid phone that replaces words with weird stuff.
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Old 14-05-2016, 13:05   #11
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Your house is on fire. Do you:
1-Call 911 and flea
2-Call 911 and remain with the fire hose, trying to contain the fire anyway?


In the US we are taught to be a nation of sheep, let someone else deal with it. That was done intentionally in the late 1800's to breed good worker drones for industry.


We used to stand and fight, despite the self-danger. Damned colonial rabble did that against King George and look at the trouble that caused.


Now, if someone said "Cat 4 or 5" I'd find a cellar and bar the doors behind me. If someone said "Cat 1" I'd call that a damned inconvenience, but if you had the ability to dodge or fend whatever might be drifting down on you? Odds are you could safely save your boat. That's a personal judgment call to be made based on the whole long list of circumstances.


Odds are that if you have to ask? You should be ashore, after doing your best to secure the boat. Plenty of authors, respected authors, have written of staying aboard and saving their boats. And sometimes, losing them anyway.
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Old 14-05-2016, 13:22   #12
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

A third option is get out of the way of dangerous storms. If you watch the weather or better yet, learn to read weather maps, you have the time to move a few hundred miles off the storm track. Trying to ride out a dangerous storm or leave your boat in the path is stupid. Risking other people's lives is more stupid.
I've been near typhoons and hurricanes several times and always had five or more days to get out of the storm track.
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Old 14-05-2016, 13:28   #13
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

In case of a monohull, I recommend to stay aboard up to a Cat 1 hurricane. When it keep getting stronger, this is the last chance to get ashore if you can go downwind.

In case of a multihull, regardless of size, I would leave at reaching cat 1 status. Their light weight becomes a weakness as I have seen many upside down or even in a tree etc.

The closer a tropical depression gets to you, the safer it becomes. When it hits you from close-by then may be it becomes a tropical storm, but it is the boats further up the island chain that need to worry as it may grow stronger before reaching them.
We have sailed in a tropical storm; very doable if you allow a compass heading for comfort instead of intended destination.

One hurricane cat 4-5 we were not aboard; another cat 3 the eye missed us by 30nm but we would have been okay...
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Old 14-05-2016, 13:48   #14
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
Look, up to 60 or 70 knts you are useless in the boat, that's a Cat 1 upward ,
Last October I got hit by an unusual front of HIGH wind, a half an hour of 40-60 knot winds with higher gusts in an anchorage I've been using for 25 years. My 21 hp engine barely kept me going and I dragged the anchor around for 10 minutes until I slipped into an empty slip.

It was VERY hairy. Flat calm to 3 foot waves with the tops being blown off them. I never saw anything like that before in my life.

You don't wanna be on a boat in an anchorage in those kind of winds or higher. You wanna be up the creek or off the boat.
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Old 14-05-2016, 13:54   #15
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Re: Big storms? Stay aboard or sleep ashore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
A third option is get out of the way of dangerous storms. If you watch the weather or better yet, learn to read weather maps, you have the time to move a few hundred miles off the storm track. Trying to ride out a dangerous storm or leave your boat in the path is stupid. Risking other people's lives is more stupid.
I've been near typhoons and hurricanes several times and always had five or more days to get out of the storm track.
I like this concept, but I read the plan a little differently. I use this time, usually three days, to move to the most protected secure area. If you use this time in order to escape the path instead of finding the safest place, you can end up in danger with nothing gained. Predicting the path of hurricanes has greatly improved, but not to the point where you can often be sure of escape. At specific times you might have the option of moving to the opposite side of a strong steering front, but those assurances are rare.
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