Thursday, September 2, 2010

Waiting For The Storm

Recollections of my September visits to Block Island are mostly rose-colored, but in 2008 I spent several days there fearing the force and path of Hurricane Kyle.  I am not in Block Island presently, but I have been thinking about that  trip quite a bit today.
Much like this week, there were several days of spectacular, late summer weather. In the forecasts however, were the rumblings of a storm one thousand miles to the south. The weather remained golden, but by the fourth day, the forecast grew dimmer and there were slight signs of the approaching storm.
Walking around in Old Harbor, the roar of the surf  could be heard smashing ashore. There was still sunshine and mild breezes, but the seas were building. I walked out on the breakwater admiring the surf, but in typical Soundbounder fashion, I went too far. Somewhere beyond the halfway point, I was hit hard by the spray and drenched  thoroughly. Is it any wonder my camera has condensation issues?
By evening, the winds arrived and  blew for two straight days, reaching a high of 62 mph at 4 AM on the second night. Kyle passed Block Island several hundred miles to the east, eventually reaching landfall in Nova Scotia. Funny, I still regard that vacation as one of my best ever.
I've been thinking about that trip today as Hurricane Earl approaches, and this time it doesn't seem so fun. I have removed Carina's dodger, along with her mainsail to reduce windage. I also added some chafing protection to her mooring lines. Hurricanes can obviously change direction, but at this moment, the path appears to be further east. That means the strongest winds will be from the east and north, which gives Carina better  protection in her mooring field. I am off the boat, and will not return until Saturday. Still, I can't help but worry and wonder what else I should have done.
Yes, I  look back at Hurricane Kyle with rose-colored glasses, but Hurricane Earle remains an open book. 


Chuck Anastasia said...

Likewise, Heart of Gold is stripped of her sails and dodger, and has new chafe protection on her mooring line. I brought the dingy home from the yacht club tonight, but before I left I whispered, "Heart of Gold, you are on your own now." We are in the 40 to 50% probability band for Tropical Storm force winds and 20 to 30% chance of 50 knots. She is in a very protected tidal river with a stout mooring, I trust she will come through fine. There was a wide variety of preparation activity on the river tonight ranging from small boats being hauled out, sails being removed or tied down, canvas being removed, but many boats hadn't been touched. When I was a kid I thought it was exciting when hurricane warnings came around, they were unusual, powerful, and dangerous. Now I'll be happy if this one just passes us by.

Steve Borichevsky said...

We're hunkering down in Gloucester, too. Although we are supposed to get tropica storm conditions, the hurrican watch extends almost to Boston, which is just 26 miles south. That is pretty close.

Mike said...

Comino's safely tucked away in Manhasset Bay. Going to check on her tonight anyway, like tucking in your kids during a thunderstorm.

Mari said...

I like this post of yours, for different reasons at different levels;
let's see:
the second photo I like especially.Details and a small imperfection, I like it period.
The "Soundbounder fashion" is also a nice way to put it. I felt that way lots of times; a mixture of being too curious, distracted...too confident, agnostic?
Anyway I got to places that - given my well known fear of heights - I wouldn't ever have seen in my life (climbing on roofs of churches, monuments, towers, scaffolding) and learned that "too far" isn't a big deal: the way back is the problem. But I also got myself in a number of situations that were sort of irresponsible (like being almost abducted in a foreign country with no way of asking for help!).

More: I like the way you describe certain scenes; you are good at that, I am kind of envious (positively meant). In this case the way you are talking about your boat.

That said, enjoy the long weekend!!!

bowsprite said...

so! how did you weather it? all well?

matthew houskeeper said...

Thanks everyone, and sorry for the long delay in responding.

The winds were not too bad; it amounted to one bad day of severe winds and two days of rain.
The boat is fine along with all the boats surrounding me.

A few items I forgot to secure in the cabin got tossed around, but that was the extent of it.