October 27, 2010
We are in Deltaville, VA where the Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers meet the Chesapeake Bay, waiting for the onset of Hurricane Sandy which is due to pass this way in the next 48-72 hours. After examining our options and much deliberation and discussion, we have decided to head out to ride out the storm at anchor. We are now tucked into Fishing Bay, which offers good protection for winds from all directions except South. Why, you might ask, would anyone leave a lovely marina and head out into a hurricane? Well, let me try to explain.
Deltaville Marina has fixed docks, not floating docks. That means the docks are at a fixed height and in the event of a tidal surge, common with a hurricane, boats may actually be lifted ABOVE the docks. This provides plenty of opportunity for damage. For the past 48 hours, the boatyard has been lifting boats out of the water as both boats and docks are thereby safer. However, given our size, we are too large to be lifted out at Deltaville or any other nearby marina. Our best alternative at Deltaville was to go into the slip for the 75-ton travel lift.
While it’s a large enough slip to accommodate us and would allow us to be tied up securely, it also has the potential to cause damage to the boat. Unlike the standard wood docks, this slip has steel bays on either side, only a few feet above the normal high tide level. With a large storm surge, the risk is that our hull could come into contact with those metal sides and the boat would not likely win! In addition, the risk from flying debris is much greater where there are lots more boats, buildings, and other potential flying missiles.
On the other hand, being at anchor avoids many of those risks. Presuming the anchor is properly set and adequate preparations are made, the risk to the boat is lower than being in a marina. Although it will likely be a bit nerve wracking and potentially uncomfortable for a while, we elected to take this option. We chose Fishing Bay, a nearby anchorage because it is deep, large, and reasonably protected from the north, which is where the winds are initially expected. We spent all day yesterday preparing the boat.
This included removing everything possible that might blow or sustain damage from the tender deck and flybridge such as the tender cover and bimini top, all dive equipment normally stored in a zippered deck box, all cushions, life vests, lines, fenders, etc.
It was just a couple miles to the anchorage but the winds are already starting to pick up. Nothing serious yet, just a hint of what’s to come at 10-15 knots. We are secured with over 200 feet of anchor chain out with one other boat, a Swan 57 sailboat, here with us. For now we are relaxing and waiting, but when the fun begins, we’ll be standing anchor watches, making sure we’re not moving! I’ll try to provide an update when the worst is over, but we’ll have to see if we have internet coverage throughout! So don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from us for a while.
Of you’d like to see where we are you can go to www.marinetraffic.com and enter the vessel name Shear Madness. A special thanks to all those at Deltaville with local knowledge and our boating friends and other Nordhavn owners for their advice and expertise in helping us through this decision. Click here to send us an email or leave your comment below!