Best Looking MALE Mod
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Washington State
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Well, I will mostly agree with the comments above and give my observations.
First, I rode out Gabriel with wife and kid on board (at a marina). I have also been in Charlie, Jean (or gene, I don't remember), Francis, and brushed by Ivan. Other milder tropical storms too, which were not that bad.
TO begin with: I will emphasize a point I have made many times and hope everyone will listen carefully: IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, DO NOT RIDE THE STORM OUT ON YOUR BOAT!! It is not worth it. Once it hits, you are stuck on the boat (and you WILL wish you were not before it is all over). The old adage that there is nothing you can do is not true. You can adjust your lines up and down, watch for chafe, start and run the engine... there are things you can do. But, better to do your best and leave it be. The only reason we had to ride out Gabrielle was that we got stuck on the boat and it was not even supposed to hit us when it did or where it did. So, the next point:
The cone of uncertainty is quite that... uncertain. Hurricanes have a funny way of making unpredictable turns and speeding up and slowing down. Get well prepared well ahead of time. Plan on it hitting you even if it is "supposed" to hit somewhere else. Buy all your extra fenders and lines long before the season starts... or be prepared for the line from hell at West Marine.
The boat is safer on the hard, properly tied up. Now, if you take a direct from a Cat II+ and get a good storm surge (where most of the damage comes from, directly or indirectly), you are probably screwed either way. Once everything is under water and you are tied down hard on land, I could easily see you popping off a cleat or snapping a line. If that happened and you were on land, you can probably kiss your boat goodbye. So, in general, you are safer on the hard... but I guess the argument could be made that if you found a tight little inlet where you could really spider your lines, you could weather the storm better there than tied up on the hard. The issue, as has been pointed out earlier, is all the idiots around you that throw out a 15 lb Danforth (not one of my favorite anchors anyway) and 5:1 scope and head on back to dry land. Once that boat drags, it will take everything with it in its path... no matter how well you are tied up. Also, at the first hint of a storm, the good hurricane holes will dissapear. SO if you are planning on that option, you better get there really early.
I will point out a few more observations if you are moving to S Florida. DO not be fooled into thinking that you can head up river (Callosahatchee) or 30 miles inland and you will be safe from storm surge or high winds. East to west, I think Florida is only like 120 miles. Most hurricanes haven't even coughed by the time they cross coast-coast. The very, very worst will be on the coast directly hit... but it is not going to be pretty anywhere in the path... including Okechobee.
The comments were made earlier about tying up someone elses boat. As I understand it, a new law has been passed that Marina owners now have the right to board boats in the even of an imminent storm and make all the preparations to save their poperty (and other boats) as they see fit. They can charge these back to the boat owner. Apparently, they can no longer kick you out of a marina in the even of an approaching storm like they were theoretically able to before (or, so I have heard).
In Gabrielle, three boats tried to sink (in our marina) and several more were taken out to sea. THis was all due to the storm surge and collateral damage. If the boat owners of those boats had been more prepared, that probably would not have happend.
Boat US will pay for half the haul out fee and will also pay for half of the cost of a captain to move your boat to a safer area in the event of a named storm. This is probably the best option if it is an option, but good luck finding a marina that can make space for you. Most marinas with travel lifts will be cram packed full BEFORE the hurricane. A lot of planning and calling and dissapointment is likely in the works for you.
I have thrown out another thought for people that are not stuck on having to live in S Florida over the hurricane season: Go to Texas (Keemah). It has a good sailing community and the money saved in slipping your boat there will more than pay for the cost to sail back and forth. The marinas are very nice (comparatively) and could be considered more protected than most of S Florida (or almost any of Florida). The worst hurricane to hit our country hit Galveston, so don't think you are safe from them there. Still, statistically, they get hit less frequesntly and you will also find that Boat US will lower your premiums (I think mine dropped a grand or two) if you are west of the Mississippi. You will likely also find more insurance carriers that will pick you up if you are in Texas.
Just some thoughts. If you have specific questions, drop me a PM and I will help in any way I can.