October 6, 2016
In the last post we mentioned how living on a boat means your life is heavily influenced by weather. Now with just weeks left in the official hurricane season, Hurricane Matthew has proved our point! We were in the Washington, DC area and had planned to depart for a week of R&R in Colorado, but last Saturday, the track of Matthew showed some potential for impacting North Carolina where we had left the boat. So we reluctantly at 5:00 AM canceled our 8:15 flights and by Monday knew we had to return to Shear Madness to make sure she was safe and secure. We departed at 4:30am on Tuesday morning and arrived at the boat by 11am.
The marina where we left the boat is not hurricane safe and has a mandatory evacuation policy in the event of a hurricane forecast. That meant we had to decide how and where to put the boat. Ideally, the safest thing is to haul the boat out of the water, storing it safely on land or move out of the storm track completely. Our primary hurricane plan for Beaufort NC was to run north into the Chesapeake Bay. However, wind speeds were 25 to 30 knots from the north, blowing against the Gulf Streams, so it would be almost as bad as heading out into a hurricane. Plan B was to get lifted out of the water, but the size of our boat means the yard must have a large (200-ton) boat lift, limiting our options to only one place, Jarrett Bay Boatworks. Jarrett Bay was fully committed to customers who hold Hurricane Policies – contracts for which they pay to guarantee space (extra insurance) and time for their boats to be hauled out if a hurricane is coming. When we approached Jarrett bay they indicated it was very unlikely could haul us but would let us know if they could find a way to squeeze us in.
Plan C, which we have done multiple times, was to find a safe, protected anchorage in the area. After talking to several locals who were very knowledgeable boaters, including our good friend, David, we identified an good protected location on the Neuse River. Because Bradley was fighting a very bad Staph infection, from a poison ivy encounter, this past weekend, we wanted to recruit a third person to join us. We recruited Brian, a local friend with knowledge of the river, to help us get there safely and prepare the boat.
After exchanging multiple calls, a welcome call came in. Jarrett Bay would be able to haul us after all. What does that mean? Everything that can be impacted by hurricane strength winds (cushions, covers for kayak and tender, etc) has to be removed from the decks and stored safely inside the boat or in some kind of secure storage. Antennas have to be secured. Selected outside cabinets need to be taped to prevent water intrusion in heavy, pounding rains. The goal is to have as few wind resistant objects outside as possible.
Compounding the challenge, we would not have power once we were hauled out. That means no refrigeration and no charging for our batteries. So even though we have not bought any significant new provisions since March, we still had quite a lot of food in our freezers which would have to be removed and transported elsewhere. Additionally, we needed to turn everything off to conserve our battery power. We were able to get the draw on our batteries down to 2 amps per hour, giving us approximately 21 days before the batteries are down to 50%, the lowest level one should drive their batteries down.
All of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning was spent preparing the boat. At 8:30am on Wednesday, we headed to Jarrett Bay where thankfully they were on schedule and able to haul us as promised at 10am. An hour later, the boat was safely out of the water and we continued making preparations. By 4pm, we were done. All that remained was to load the heavy coolers containing the contents of our freezers and refrigerators into the car for the 6 hour drive back to DC.
All we can do now is wait to see what Matthew decides to do. Once he passes, we’ll head back and move the boat – either to another spot on land where we can get power, or back into the water.
#1 by enrapt on October 10, 2016 - 3:46 am
Anxious to hear how SM fared. Of course you meant 2 amps, not 2 amps per hour.
#2 by Nora Whynacht on October 7, 2016 - 8:24 am
Smart move to lift her out! Keep us posted. In the early reports of the hurricane we took out our docks and boats. A little early for us as we are enjoying a beautiful Indian summer shorts during the day , cools down at night but it’s perfect, take care Nora
#3 by José Ramón A-VAlledor on October 7, 2016 - 5:00 am
Espero que no tengan problemas con el viento y el barco en tierra. Mucha Suerte.
#4 by Ginny on October 6, 2016 - 9:33 pm
For both our sakes, hope the weather is not too bad. I’ll bet this last incident has reinforced your choice to move to a new chapter of your life.
#5 by Pat Thompson on October 6, 2016 - 8:14 pm
Good for you Kathy & Bradley, thankfully you were able to get Shear Madness out of the water. I was expecting Hurricane Sandy Video Part ll. Fingers crossed, Pat Thompson Maratime 4681, Newfoundland
#6 by Anonymous on October 6, 2016 - 6:24 pm
Fingers crossed for you!
#7 by Renate on October 6, 2016 - 5:28 pm
OMG, what a lot of work! But you did it, hat off to you. I guess that is the downside of sailing. I actually was thinking about you both, when it became clear that Matthew was coming up the coast to the Carolinas. Keep us posted, once the weather has cleared. Love to you both and get well from your staph infection. Renate and Allan xoxoxoxo
#8 by Lynne on October 6, 2016 - 2:43 pm
Be safe driving back to DC. We are preparing as well but at the moment don’t expect it to be too bad. Take care.
#9 by Briavael Cianelli on October 6, 2016 - 1:15 pm
What a lot of effort. I hope all goes well. We’ll be thinking of you as we hunker down ourselves.Sure will be glad when it’s over.
#10 by Anonymous on October 6, 2016 - 10:55 am
What an undertaking. Best to you both. Shirley
#11 by Laust Sondergaard on October 6, 2016 - 10:50 am
🙂 “May you live in interesting times … ”
We are in Palm Beach, afloat and we are prepared as well. I was wondering about the picture you posted of Shear Madness on the dry – it looks like the the boat does not sit in a welded cradle. Our insurance demad that if we had chosen to go on the dry – sitting as you have Shear Madness they would not cover any potential damage.
Best of luck..
#12 by Sally Merten on October 6, 2016 - 10:15 am
Good luck!!! We are thinking of you.
#13 by jeff marcon on October 6, 2016 - 9:44 am
very Interesting post… you both have such great knowledge of the boating environ…. It is such a shame that you will be putting SM up for sale. Best of luck with the Hurricane and I hope everything will fine for you guys.
#14 by Rolland Winter on October 6, 2016 - 9:11 am
Wishing you and boat a safe harbor
#15 by Caroleerx@aol.com on October 6, 2016 - 9:11 am
I am overwhelmed for you – you are dauntless. I thought you were going to sell the boat. Please let me know when you are well planted again, for sea or land. I will be thinking of you – you look great!