As I sit here on Halloween listening to the hum of our generator (so we can run the huge electricity eating heater), I am so thankful that I can say goodbye and good riddance Hurricane Sandy! About two weeks before our planned departure, weather forecasters began predicting that a huge monster “frankenstorm” would hit the East Coast. The upper Chesapeake Bay was right in that storm cone – something that made us sit up and pay attention!
As the eye drew closer, based on the wind direction (circling potential storm surge waters away from us), and based on the expected path (the eye coming ashore north of us in the NJ/NY area) – we decided to stay on board in our little cove here in Herring Bay.
Here are the main reasons why we felt comfortable with that decision:
- Our boat is tied up to pilings on a bulkhead (meaning we are not on a wooden dock – we are tied to land) and we generally have less than five feet of water beneath us. With all our additional lines, and the expectation that winds would not exceed the predicted 70mph, our little cove location is very safe and protected.
- Since we have been preparing for a long journey for months now, we have over two-weeks worth of non-refrigerated food, 120 gallons of fresh water, three separate electrical systems (solar, diesel Yanmar engine, and Honda generator), extensive emergency first aid supplies, and all the blankets, books, games, etc. that four people could need.
- This storm was going to hit everyone, land or shore. With the expected power outages, land homes would be hit the hardest, and if roads were impacted like the previous year from Hurricane Irene, we didn’t want to be stuck inland without power, water, food, etc.
- We had a backup emergency plan. With a ditch bag in the car, just feet away from our bulkhead, and keys to a neighbor’s house just a mile away we were prepared to abandon ship in case the storm predictions changed and it veered south, which would have made staying aboard dangerous.
So, with that in mind we prepped Tango. We removed anything that could be a wind catch or a projectile, tied on seven extra shore lines to pull the boat into a web configuration, added extra fenders, and shrink-wrapped the stack pack for the mainsail (we saw a salty captain do that for Irene and it worked really well).
Hurricane Sandy started slowly on a Sunday evening, and blew through by Tuesday am. During that period, the marina clocked winds at 68mph and recorded 6.4 inches of rainfall.
Through all of this, Madi and Peyton were unfazed! Truly boat girls, they actually thought the whole adventure was quite fun…and were very excited by all the drama it created. Andy and I…we are just relieved…very, very relieved. We watch the damage up in New York and the surrounding areas…and are so thankful to have dodged this one.
One final thought. A few months ago, we installed an arch on the back of Tango to hold our new solar array and the radar dish. We’ve tested the structural stability on nice sailing days, but we weren’t sure how it would hold up in hurricane force winds. Proudly, we can say that it performed admirably! It shivered and shook, but after all the weather passed, it still stood! (I am especially pleased, as this was my design.)