Tornadoes and boats... - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 46 Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

If we could get to a sturdy low windowless concrete structure, I would. (Our marina's bathhouse restrooms come to mind.) Otherwise, I trust our boat as a second choice.

We were in? near? a small tornado once while we were anchored along the ICW in North Carolina one spring and it was SCARY, even more so in retrospect. Here is my blog post about it written shortly after it occurred: Life Afloat Archives: What was THAT??!!!


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post #22 of 46 Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

Quote:
Originally Posted by misfits View Post
I wouldn't put money on that. Tornadoes have been know to lift a semi tractor trailer right off the ground & launch them into space. Some of the trucks this has happened to have weighed in at 80,000 pounds.

When it comes to stuff like this, it's just luck of the draw. There really is no safe place to hide.
80,000 is the max weight for a normal tractor Trailer, but remember this, I have driven commercial. A good wind can knock a tractor Trailer over. It is not just the flat surfaces that get a trailer, but the fact that the weight is up high -and- the air can get beneath it.

A boat is none of that.

While the boat is lighter, it takes more effort to suck something out of the water. H20 has an amazing ability to keep things stuck to it. Aside from the rig (which would go flying right away) boats are low to the water and usually have as little windage as possible. and the weight is way down low.

Water also tends to slow down Tornados as they get soggy with water working it's way up the funnel.

The real danger would be getting holed. Either by your dock or by debris. If it ripped your mast and rigging off and sent it flying, what about some other boat's mast? There are just too many variables

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post #23 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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A few years ago we were anchored on the Rhode River/Chesapeake Bay when a tornado warning came across the radio. It was a Sunday evening so the anchorage was empty by this time. It was scary, what do we do I wondered. I wasn't about to get everyone into the dingy and go ashore, to what anyway, the anchorage shore line is just wooded area with no structures except maybe one house that probably doesn't have a basement.

The warning said there was significant rotation approaching the West/Rhode river area, never did see a tornado thank God, but IIRCC I heard there had been some signs of a small tornado the next day just to the South of us.

I mostly spent the time trying to keep everyone calm, including myself

If I was in a Marina I would have tried to seek a structure. If at our Marina/club I would head for the bathrooms most likely. If at anchor I would start the engine, PDF on, and maybe clip in below just in case it tried to rip the deck off. I would prepare to be holed with tarp/scrap wood/ etc ready to deploy after if possible, throw all the cushions onto the Cabin sole and everyone get under them to try and protect from flying debris. I would radio our location to the CG and hope for the best. That about all I can think of.

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post #24 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

About 3 years ago, I received an email from my yard that a tornado had hit our marina and we should come check out our vessels. Upon arriving, I found that it had ripped my bimini off and bent the stainless frame. It had also bent the steel collar that attaches the finger dock to the outer pole. Other than that I suffered no other damage. It was a pretty narrow strike zone several boats on either side of me had lost all canvas, a few antenna's etc. I don't recall seeing a report of the wind strength, I'm guessing it was a 1.

It was the 1st time, I had left the Bimini up after a sail. I remember saying, I'll come back tomorrow to close it up. The dodger was unaffected. Were I there, I'd probably would have headed for the block house restrooms.

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post #25 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

If you had tried to seek shelter on dry land immediately, maybe that may have been the best option. But by the time you've debated the idea a bit, it may have been too late. I'm not sure I'd want to be running down a flimsy dock to the dubious shelter of a marina rest room knowing that there was a tornado on the way, anyway.

I grew up in the midwest, and was in a barn when it came down around us. Tornadoes are scary! At night, you can't even see them coming. I've also been driving along a lake front, watching in the rear view mirror as a tornado pulled up all the docks and twisted them into spirals. Not sure I'd want to be in a boat, either.

It's a conundrum! I think I'd hang tight and pray.
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post #26 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

I just sailed NY to FL and encountered a couple of waterspout warnings. Front after front moved through in May. Never saw one but certainly made me nervous. If caught in a boat in a tornado or spout, it could certainly knock you down, even under bare poles so one part of the plan would have to be to get hatches all battened down, boards in. Also, jackets on and clipped in, engine running to try keeping head to wind. Attached picture is just outside Norfolk. Not only did I have this nasty TS to deal with (moments later, I had ski goggles on, wind blowing 40) but there was a warship and sub exiting and a tanker behind...eeek!
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post #27 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

Having experienced tornado's first hand, and seeing the damage they can do, when my classical music kept getting interrupted Friday (wee hours of the morning), I just sat tight on the boat. From what I was told, many went up to the Hotel here at the Marina. Of course, in my case, I had no responsibility for anyone other than myself.

My thinking was basically, if it's gonna get me on the boat, the hotel's probably toast as well.

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Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
JCP


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post #28 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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post #29 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

There is only one place when a big one hits your ground zero...underground. Otherwise if it's a small one, the boat might not be a bad place.
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post #30 of 46 Old 06-08-2013
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Re: Tornadoes and boats...

do not count on 28000 pounds displacement staying put in a tornado--if a durbeck 47 can make it over 50 miles into a tree in a furycame, 28000 pounds is nada---good luck with that thinking---might wanna figger out how to more than double tie your boat to something other than a mooring which will break away--seen that happen in less than 50 kts winds....wasnt cute....and make sure all lines are doubled--moorings--double line an dextra anchors when needed--keep em ready to deploy, if not already done so.
find mangroves and go there--baffled channels and places that do not suffer strong surge and currents...
also watch overhead--isnt always the surge and seas that hurt--is what the f is flying in the wind---tiles, coconuts, trees, fridges, cars...bicycles, people, cows..you name it can fly in weird winds of furycames and tornadoes and water spouts.


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