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Storm Prep for Boats

This season’s weather has been exceptionally crazy. We began this spring and early summer with storms and that is exactly how we wrapped up the summer / early fall. Once our last charter was complete instead of casting off the mooring for southern waters, we had to make storm preparations for Jose, which was headed for Cape Cod.

There are many ways you can deal with a storm on its way. Ride it out, move to a hopefully more desirable location within the harbor, or take a couple days to sail completely away from where it might hit. Based on the forecast, we chose to leave Moment on her usual Provincetown mooring, storm proof her, and then stay ashore.

What does it take to storm proof? In the case of a tropical storm where winds are in the 40-60 range, its ok to leave the sails on, but with extra lashings over them to ensure they will not come undone. One such boat in the harbor didn’t lash enough, which resulted in a completely shredded jib – ouch! So sails lashed: check! Other items to lash: the wind generator (to protect it from burning out or taking off), the helm, and any other misc that could possibly fly away. And most importantly the boat. We actually more than tripled our mooring lines to make sure there were fail safes if the primary line chafed through.

To prevent damage, extend the life of our cockpit canvas, and reduce windage, we took it all down and stowed below.

With extra volumes of rain, anything that might leak will leak. That in mind, we sealed air vents, added extra plastic on our hatches and made sure the bilge pump was in good working order and a charged battery if it needed it.

So how did we fare? There was torrential rain and reported 44 knot gusts of wind. With all the wind and waves, Moment shredded her primary mooring lines leaving the backups to do their thing! Seemingly the only other casualties were broken zippers from the process of uninstalling and reinstalling the cockpit canvas – not the wind itself!

Finally, the most important thing overall is to monitor the weather, over prepare, and not find yourself caught out it a storm. We had to remain in Provincetown almost a week past our scheduled departure–well worth it as we are now safely on our way down the coast!