One really has to question how "experienced" that guy is, if indeed he thinks that the only two options available to Walbridge were to remain either tied to the dock in New London, or to put to sea, and sail directly into the path of the storm...
...it looked like they were heading out to sea and generally attempting to stay out of the path of the hurricane. And it looks like the storm is so big that there wasn’t really anywhere that they could go that would be safe. They couldn’t skirt it enough.
Either he lacks access to charts, or suffers an extreme poverty of imagination... (grin)