What do you about Hurricanes? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-22-2012 Thread Starter
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What do you about Hurricanes?

As I think about spending the next part of my life cruising the carribean, I'm wondering how to handle hurricanes. I imagine you can't always run from them and so end up having to ride them out. Do you stay on the hook, look for a haul out...what works, what doesn't?

I actually rode out Hurricane Isabel in 2003 aboard my 34' Cruisers powerboat on the intercoastal waterway and had a ball. But I had the absolute perfect circumstances - was living aboard in the Albemarle Sound in Elizabeth City NC, had plenty of warning it was coming, and was able to get into the ICW, tie up under a bridge, so I was perfectly protected from the storm surge, wind, waves and debris. I had it much better than those in houses for a few weeks since I had a genset, power, refrigeration, etc.

But I also know, had I left my boat at the dock, it would have been destroyed as the dock was pretty much totalled. So while I totally had a ball, I also came away with a serious respect for the power of a Hurricane...Isabel was only a Cat 1.

I imagine sailing in the carib would put you in a far more vulnerable situation. So curious to know what I should plan on.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-22-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

Hi Eric,

You avoid hurricane areas in hurricane season.
In the Caribbean the cost of Panama, Columbia and Venuzalea are safe.
Trinidad is safe-ish
Grenada gets hurricanes but not often and it's not far to escape to the coast of Trinidad or Venuzalea.

Sure you can anchor out in one. Wanna die?

My advice is always sail in the right season. So if you are in a hurricane area before the season starts make sure you are out by the beginning of the season.
No ifs, buts or maybe's. Death is permanent.

There are places to put your boat inside hurricane areas, some marinas should be pretty safe... But on a tight budget you can't do that.
Some areas you can haul out and they dig your boat not a trench.... Expensive and you can't sail, and its too hot.

So have a look at Grenada. Hundreds of cruisers go there each year. Or maybe Columbia. Girls are pretty there, so they tell me...

All the best,


Mark

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post #3 of 19 Old 11-22-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

Be south of Martinique for the whole season. Although there are places in Martinique that MIGHT be OK in a CAT 1/2
Grenada for peak season.
ALWAYS be prepared to move at short notice. 6 hour max.
ALWAYS check the weather daily.
ALWAYS know where the closest hurricane hole is AND GET THERE EARLY.

That is my plan and so far so good although I did get caught out by Tomas.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-22-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

Braver than me.
Martinique has been hit by 48 hurricanes in the last 140 years. Plus twice this year, wasn't it? One hit St Lucia which is right next door and the escape route...
So better be a fair way south of Martinique.

But it's the last French island so stock up on food and wine, restaurants etc... Lol

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post #5 of 19 Old 11-22-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

Sail in the Pacific.

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post #6 of 19 Old 11-23-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

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Sail in the Pacific.
Still need to keep moving in the Pacific for tropical Cyclones. SE Asia working good for us. Now just moving for the seasonal monsoon change.


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post #7 of 19 Old 11-23-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

New England is the place to be during hurricane season. If you're all that and a bag of chips, it's about a two week sail direct from the Caribbean, or take your time and poke up the coast.

However, we've had a few near misses these past few years. If you have time, you can usually get to a number of good hurricane holes.

Here's an idea. Come to NE during hurricane season to buy your boat, then sail it from here to the Caribbean. I think boats are rumored to be less expensive on the East Coast and you skip the beat to Panama and the high cost of the canal.


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post #8 of 19 Old 11-25-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

Ok, so plan your whole travel schedule to not be in Hurricane area during hurricane season. But since you could still end up in a hurricane's path, as they sometimes reach all the way up the east coast and I imagine maybe dip south sometimes,

if you knew one was headed at you and you couldn't avoid it, what would you do? Anchor and stay on the boat, anchor and go to shore, mooring ball, pull out and bury? What's the best option?
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-25-2012
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

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Originally Posted by eric-the-red View Post
....if you knew one was headed at you and you couldn't avoid it, what would you do? Anchor and stay on the boat, anchor and go to shore, mooring ball, pull out and bury? What's the best option?
That's like asking what the best booze to bring might be. Everyone will have an opinion.

For starters, the insurance companies wager that being on the hard is your best bet. However, they may be gambling on the overall average, not necessarily what is best for a direct hit. They are protecting nearby boats that would survive on stands, but could float over the pilings if left in the water. I haul out about five days in advance, when the odds are higher that I will get high winds and surge, rather than a direct hit.

A good mooring would do well in a well protected hurricane hole, but good luck finding one.

If I were cruising, I would find a serious hurricane hole (there are several around here) and drop a grossly oversized Rocna or Manson anchor on every inch of heavy chain I had. This setup should be standard for cruising anyway. If the 'cane was actually barreling down about a day out, when landing is very accurate, I would leave her there, go ashore, and hope for the best.


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post #10 of 19 Old 11-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: What do you about Hurricanes?

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That's like asking what the best booze to bring might be. Everyone will have an opinion.
Well, that's kind of the point of asking a question in an online forum.
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