Haven't posted much lately. Here's some words to relate what's been going on...
For Sandy, I moved the boat to a very protected cove out on eastern Long Island and put 3 big anchors out. I was prepping my boat for hurricane Sandy when a gust flipped my 11'6" RIB inflatable with 20hp on it. I used a gust to help me right it, then tied is really close to the stern. But the the wind flipped it again. I watched the gas tank and life jackets float away. Well, that was my ride to shore unless I used our ocean (ride on top) kayak, which was also periodically flipping over and over behind the boat. An experienced friend called and strongly urged me to not take the kayak to shore -- more for the sake of my 2 laptops then for my safety. I acquiesced. It was only 200 feet to shore and the waves were only a few inches high, but I stayed on board throughout. It turns out that nightfall, when I was about to leave, was the windiest part.
At one point the next morning I noticed a lot of new boats in the cove, then I realized that all the docks were under water. It just looked different.
Here's another view of the docks
The gas can blew into a small cove, which was actually a field again when the water subsided.
Here a picture of the dinghy, taken the morning after the storm. Beside this picture, I have some how-to-right-it pictures if anyone wants to see them.
I stayed on the boat and next morning concentrated on getting the anchors up. Some of them would be in only a couple feet of water after the storm surge subsided. If I waited, I wouldn't be able to get them out again. You have to love long range wifi and an optimum-online subscription; I had power and internet onboard throughout this time.
But that wasn't the case for back home, where my town had no power. My wife and kids were ok and safe. I kept saying they should come out east, but by the time they were ready to leave 2 days later (after trick-or-treating), the power came back on.
My 40+ floor office building in downtown NY has 50 million gallons of water in the basement and is not fit for occupying. Since I helped write the disaster recovery plan for the my medium-sized office, I was really busy that week, coordinating things and helping to account for everyone. I was actually too busy to do much of anything non-work related, but did manage to get the boat to a dock, to help get everything back in order. I ended up keeping the boat there until this past weekend, but I get ahead of myself. For the two days after the storm I was running 2 laptops and working long days. It really ate up the battery bank. The solar and wind couldn't keep up, so I ended up running the diesel to add amps. But it was the flipped dinghy that really got me to go to a marina.
Here's a picture taken at the marina. Note the 400+ feet of stout line on the deck. That ran out to one of the anchors.
I went back to look for the gas tank 48 hours after the storm, but by then it was gone. Somebody already found it. I was just too busy with work to get to it earlier. I never did like being involved in Disaster Recover. When the crap hits the fan you are really busy with work, and there are other things in life you need to take care of.
There's a video interview of the guys that were in the basement of my office building when a cinder block wall gave way. One guy had to dive down to get through a doorway. Check it out:
'Lucky to Be Alive': Sandy's Havoc Under Wall St.: Video - Bloomberg
Those are really big guys. It's tough to imagine the water pressure that would to push them through walls.
At the marina, the outer dock was ripped-up, missing 1/10 of its boards. You had to look where you stepped. In the dark I missed once and stepped into a gaping hole. But I was very lucky, as it was in one of the rare spots where a cross beam was right below, so I stepped an extra 2 inches down, instead of breaking my leg. (It reminds me of the time I pushed a highschool friend out of the way as he was about to step into a gaping hole from a missing manhole cover.)
But the marina was worse-off where the docks were arranged like a cul-de-sac. The waves came right in and hit the bulkhed under the docks. Every foot of bulkhead was basically a dead-end for the waves. They had nowhere to go but up, which raised and ripped the docks up very badly.
For the flipped dinghy engine, I did the fresh water rinse as best I could, following the outboard recovery steps from cruisers forum.
I used an extra plank, roped between 2 pilings, to make a transom-like place to work on the outboard. I wouldn't have done that there under normal conditions, but no one minded much because everything was in a state of construction and repair.
Long story short, the engine runs fine now. I still have to change the oil again.
It was strange being at a dock after a summer on a mooring. Electricity! 2 Cable TV channels! Easy to get on and off! People (nice people at that)! A chandlery within 100 feet! A nice bathhouse with hot showers! a loaner dinghy gas tank!
I went back home and helped set-up a neighbor-net, stringing CAT5 cables and using a bridge so we could share the one neighbor's internet connection. I also ran an electrical cord to one neighbor that didn't have power. He managed to power his furnace and keep his online-based business going. Other neighbors were doing the same thing, but a lot of my town was without power for over a week. The downed trees were everywhere. My parent's garage and the 2 cars in it were completely crushed, by a huge oak tree.
There was a gas shortage after the storm and the line of cars was 62 cars long at the neighborhood station, so I took a big dinghy tank and did the walk-up line, which took 25 minutes. In some place the line of cars for gas was a half mile long or longer. Eventually I headed back out to the boat to take care of it during the nor'easter that hit. II brought spare gas with me. You really had to plan your trips to have enough gas to go round-trip, just in case.) The marina staff beat me to it and added a couple huge fenders before I got there. I stayed on the boat at the dock when the Nor'easter hit, watching our creative application of fenders.
Then somewhere last week I recovered the engine cowling from where the dinghy had flipped. 8 feet of water but reachable at low tide with a boat hook. I spent a lot of time looking in the cold wind, hanging over the transom with a mask on, drifting down wind, and then motoring back up wind. It was like mowing the lawn, covering an area in the search. I saw the spare aluminum oar 3 times before I found the cowling. No way to get an oar with a boat hook, and I was really cold. Finding the cowling and getting it onboard was more significant to me than you would think. It was a real "win". It was covered in slime and some barnacles already, and there were 3 crabs living in the handle area. They came out as I was cleaning it and the third was found only after I took the handle area apart.
Everything's been very busy since this all transpired. Before sandy I would work from home 1 or more days a week. It's now the beginning of December and I've been working from home (and boat) since that late October storm. Our building will be closed until near the end of the month. Work has been intense. From what I can tell, our office's productivity didn't drop a bit from this.
We all spent Thanksgiving on the boat, since we had long planned to have dinner out there. It was a bit cold with only one spaceheater, but everyone had fun. It turn out that my sister won a night at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, that she couldn't use, so the last night we spent in a beachfront room right on the ocean, and spent the evening and the next morning in the pool and spa. A room-sized jacuzzi is a welcome relief from a cold boat.
I stayed the following week on the boat, doing a lot of "work work" and getting some boat work done too. I wanted to sail the boat in pristine condition, and as you all know, it take many hours to get there. To help with this task, I made a drawing of all the storage locations. I only missed 2 bookshelves (one had my missing prop zinc) and the 4 drawers under the forward berths.
[Underway now, using the term "we" to refer to the boat and me, as is commonly done. I'm sure I didn't get it completely right. This would be a good topic for a discussion thread.]
Friday we left the dock at 11:00 and sailed solo (clipped in!) to Westbrook CT to pick up David Metzler, the sailing sherpa, a.k.a. DavidPM on sailnet. My brother took a few shots of the boat as we left the harbor.
I keep the dinghy painter short if we'll be maneuvering, to keep it out of the prop. We made it longer, soon after this picture was taken.
Other than about a minute to check something, on this whole trip we ran the engine only to go into or out of harbors. A real sailing trip.
I got a bit cold, so I went below and took a hot shower, then changed into full foul weather gear.
The sun set as we passed through Plum Gut.
We caught the tide completely wrong but I didn't care. It was all about the sailing and I wanted to ride the very rare east winds instead of pounding into a strong west wind, which is usually the case. It was fantastic and I had a great time! We saw no other boats the whole time until we got very close to the Gut.
After pasing through, I actually saw the sounder read 356 feet deep, and managed to catch this picture. (Wasn't really going 0 knots.)
One little highlight of the trip... A coast Guard helicopter passed by and radio-ed to a landing strip on VHF channel 16. We hailed him and thinked him for being out there. And he thanked us right back for being out there. Great guys.
Before dark we turned on the nav lights, but the bow light was not working. It worked earlier when I checked everything. I did not want to change the light bulb (out in front of the bow pulpit), not in that weather, so I turned on the masthead light, hove-to, ran some wire out the hatch, and mounted two new LED nav lights onto the mast pulpits with electrical tape. It was a race against time as I saw traffic far ahead. That was a really uncomfortable time being partially lit only a couple miles from Plum Gut. But the new LED lights are fantastic and our amp burn went way down.
Arriving in Westbrook, David climbed on board without our even setting a dockline, and we were back off again. David is amazing, a true machine when it comes to watch-standing. Due to prep work after normal work hours, I was up super late and needed to catch-up on sleep -- that and the long day getting to Westbrook. We sailed through the night, with David doing most of the hours. With a 21 knot east wind, it was a wing-on-wing sled ride, right up the sound. I saw 10.1 knots on the GPS in an area that has at most a knot of current. That's not bad for a partially furled headsail and towing a dinghy! We made such good time that we would arrive in Port Washington in the dark, so I rolled-up some more genoa, hove-to again and let an hour pass. I was not completely comfortable with the amount of sail up but we had the "wake the other guy up before going forward at night" rule in effect. Heaving-to also let him catch some sleep. (Really I could have put in a reef while clipped in, but agreed-upon rules are agreed-upon rules!) It was a strange feeling. The night before when solo, it would not be an issue. But David's words of wisdom were "because there's no point in not waking the other guy". Made sense to me.
It was great seeing waves come right up to the side of the boat and then slip under without heeling the boat over like would happen if we didn't have a slick from heaving to. It's even more impressive if you open an upwind portlight and see it from lower down near the water.
I call this the "frothy wake" picture.
We got in safely to Port Washington in the morning. I'm getting hauled out this week and the winter projects will soon begin. I have to replace the fan in the Xantrex MS2000 inverter/charger, a common malady for that product and they have lousy customer service according to my web searches. I bought 3 more 130w solar panels that have to be mounted better than just sitting in top of the bimini, and the new Nav lights need to be mounted where they don't light-up the headsail as much. The freezer works great so it's time to add a compressor for the fridge. I also want to turn the fridge into a heated space for the winter so I can keep some water and food in there as I work. I need to revisit the keel rust. There's more to the list than that, of course. I need to get a 5-year insurance survey so I better save some cycles for fixing what is found from that. Maybe it's time to shop around for a company that won't require that, it certainly adds to the cost of the boat.
Hope you enjoyed this write-up. A lot has been happening. For one last little surprise, Google "side effects trailer" and look 16 seconds into the video. Yes, you guessed right!
Long Post, please don't quote it when you reply!