October 30, 2012
As expected, we had the worst of the storm last night. The winds did shift towards the West-Southwest, the direction where we have a bit less protection. We saw sustained winds in the 45-50 knot range with the highest gust a mere 57 knots (65 MPH). Of course, the strong winds waited until after dark! While all was well aboard Shear Madness, there was some excitement. Our neighbor in the anchorage called us on the radio just before midnight to report that his anchor was dragging and he was getting dangerously close to a dock onshore. We were discussing what, if anything, we could do to assist him when he fortunately called back to say he had it under control and had reset his anchor. We were greatly relieved as we hated to leave him on his own, but in order to assist, we would have had to pull up our anchor and go dangerously close to shore ourselves. Fortunately, it was not a decision we had to make.
Shear Madness rode out the storm very well. Bradley stayed up on anchor watch until the early morning hours while I got a little (not much really) sleep. By 2am the winds had begun to ease and the worst appeared to be over. So we just monitored the wind and our position from the TV in our cabin. Anytime the wind speed is 50% higher than the temperature in Fahrenheit, it will be a little exciting and you hope you don’t have to go out. We had temps of 35F and winds of 55 knots! We saw the Weather Channel reporters continually talking about the barometric pressure – the lowest I observed was 974.
This morning the winds are in the 20’s and we are safe and comfortable. The winds are expected to continue to blow from the South-Southwest so we debated whether to move to somewhere more comfortable. However, though we feel some motion, we really are not uncomfortable and the thought of bringing up 120 meters of muddy anchor chain in 35 degree weather with moderate winds is not that appealing. We’d rather wait until things settle a bit and enjoy our coffee and breakfast.
One note – you may have heard about the disastrous fate of the HMS Bounty Replica that was underway around Cape Hatteras. One statement from that story was a quote from their Facebook page “Rest assured that the Bounty is safe and in very capable hands. Bounty’s current voyage is a calculated decision … NOT AT ALL … irresponsible or with a lack of foresight as some have suggested. The fact of the matter is … A SHIP IS SAFER AT SEA THAN IN PORT!”
While we made the decision that we would be safer at anchor than at a dock, we would never had thought we’d be better off UNDERWAY in a hurricane near Cape Hatteras, known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic! We have a serious anchor, plenty of chain, were not that far from shore, and had two big diesel engines we could use in an emergency. We never, ever considered the possibility of going out to sea!
Thanks to all of you for your concern, your support, and your comments. We can now check off our bucket list “Ride out a hurricane on a boat at anchor”. Our biggest concern now is how difficult it will be to get our anchor up! It will be pretty well dug in.