Last Wednesday we learned that Hurricane Sandy was on her way to the East Coast of the US. The predicted path was still unknown and the reports we were getting were between Virginia and Maryland for landfall. We were anchored at the time, up the river near the Hampton Public Pier. We weighed our options and decided we didn't want to stay anchored with so many unknowns: how good is the holding? What about other boats around us getting loose? How would the boat swing in each of the different predicted wind directions? Should we high tail it south and seek shelter somewhere else (another unknown)? In the end, we decided to stay here and found an awesome slip at the Bluewater Yachting Center. In fact, it was the last available slip for a catamaran on the floating dock! We pulled up the anchor and were in the slip in 30 minutes flat. It was a primo locale, well protected and tucked into the corner.
By Thursday, the clouds started rolling in and before we knew it, it was getting chilly. Darn! We were enjoying our sunny, short sleeve weather (finally). Thursday was a blur of getting the boat positioned in the slip, marina paperwork filled out and running errands.
Friday was boat preparation day:
Craig and Paul removing our jib and camber spar
Removed our dodger (front part of the enclosure), rolled up the side enclosure, ducted tape our navigation equipment with plastic
Lashed our mainsail
Duct taped around all our hatched to prevent leaking (it worked awesome by the way)
Raised the motor dinghy on the back and put the sailing dinghy on deck
Welcome to Maggie's cabin - The Dump! This is where we stored everything; the dodger panels, cockpit cushions, MOB horseshoe, sailing dinghy mast and sail, camber spar, jib sail (which by the way, all had to be lowered in here through the hatch because it couldn't make it around the corner and down the stairs), shade panels, extra lines and ropes, sunbrella covers to the bbq grill, winch and throttle controls. You name it, it was there, if it could blow away or jiggle loose.
Saturday morning, we said goodbye to Craig's parents as they had a long drive back to Michigan and didn't want to get caught in the storm. There was a flurry of activity in the marina. Boat owners arrived in droves to prep their boats for the storm. The marina staff was busy moving and securing boats. The travel lift was busy morning 'til night hauling boats out of the water. It was comforting that everyone around us was doing the same thing we were.....sort of. I was getting more and more anxious trying not to think the worst. I felt like a kid repeating "what if, what if...."
You know it's going to be serious when they take the gang plank off the hinges for the storm surge
Notice the gang planks slant down to the dock and the low water line
Notice the pilings, how tall they are out of the water and our dock lines to and from the boat. We used 10 dock lines in all to secure the boat!
DURING SANDY: We endured sustained winds of 20-30 knots for nearly 3 days with gusts close to 50 knots. We had a 5 foot storm surge and 7.3 inches of rainfall. The temperature dropped more than 30 degrees. However, as awful as that may seem, we were well prepared and very well protected. Our boat didn't move much. The big powerboat to the east blocked the wind for a while until it clocked around to the west. We rocked a little bit more then, but nothing that was uncomfortable. At night, when it was dark was the scariest because you can't see and your hearing is some how heightened. The constant howling of wind through the rigging became background noise. As the wind steadily increased and with every stronger gust, we heard a high pitched screaming sound. We could feel the boat shutter and shake from the wind, pull against the dock lines and spring back. If we put our hand on the mast step (the mast support inside the boat), we could feel the vibration of the wind.
Notice how short those pilings are now and how the boat is nearly as high as the roof of the building. Also note how calm the water is - it was blowing 20-30 knots!
Where is the parking lot? Where is the edge of the bulkhead? Notice how high the gang planks are to the building's roof
This is the parking lot, which sit a good 4 feet above the water line and it is 1-2 feet under water!
We made cookies and watched a lot of movies
No, this is not rain leaking through our hatches, it's from the condensation. The hatches, port holes and walls were literally dripping because the temperature dropped so fast (and we were warm inside of course)
AFTER SANDY: We are happy to report that we did not have any damage nor did anyone else in the marina. We didn't need to worry about the power going out, we are self sufficient and content with power, heat, clean water and warm food to eat. You'd think that after 7 inches of rain, the boat would be clean as a whistle. WRONG. The hulls are filthy from debris in the water and the decks are covered with hundred of broken pieces of leaves; green and brown. As if someone chopped all the leaves up, put glue on them and through them up in the air.
Notice this piling next to us, the scrap marks, as the dock rose up and down with the surge.