Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For My Next Hurricane

Holding the Middle
Holding the Middle
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
As part of the recovery process from Hurricane Jimena, I made it a point to interview my fellow crew and captains as to what worked and what didn’t work. While the consensus was, “No mas hurricano” never again... get the hell out of dodge... there were also many ideas of how to improve the odds for the next one. Just in case. While there are books written on this subject, it never hurts to talk to the people who just lived through a big storm.

Unfortunately, I conducted most of these interviews during the Grace e deos/Soccer party the day after the second time Jimena hit us. The following are the ideas and suggestions I can remember:

More Fenders Everyone wanted more fenders. If you don’t use them, someone else can. Also, fenders need to be blown up so a fender-blower-upper.

More Lines Everyone also wanted at least one more line. Everyone. Little docklines good for tying up to a fuel dock are just not going to prove helpful in a big storm. Get 1” line and store it dry and safe somewhere, ready for a storm. Have at least one, and preferably two pieces of anchor road that are at least 150’ long so that you can run lines a long distance. Four boats in Santa Rosalia had to run multiple lines over 100 feet to a far side breakwater. These lines were critical to keeping those boats from smashing the docks during the storm.

Don Quixote’s Strap More than one captain asked me were we got our 300 feet of 3 inch cargo strap. I’ll write a tech tip about how this worked and why.

Alex’s Telcel It was fantastic downloading the latest radar and weather over Maitairoa’s 3G Telcel. Yes, you can get this information over your SSB, but the SSB requires huge bandwidth and doesn’t work so well when there is a lot of electricity in the air. The Telcel modem plugged into Alex’s notebook, used almost no power, and worked all the way through the storm.

Prepare Food for a Passage Treat the storm as a passage when it comes to the galley. Have meals prepared in advance, snacks ready to deliver whenever tired crew come in. Always have hot water ready for coffee, tea, soup, and chocolate.

Clean Everything Before It Hits It is quite possible that boats in Santa Rosalia will not be allowed to do laundry for over four weeks. Make sure all your sheets and towels and clothes are clean in advance.

Get Cash After the storm, no one can take credit cards and the ATM machines are not functional because the phones and power are out. Make sure that you stock up on a substantial amount of cash, preferably in small bills.

Take Your Meclizine If you are prone to sea sickness, you are going to get sick on the dock from the movement during a big storm. Take counter measures in advance.

Manning the Lines
Manning the Lines
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Attend the Boat This came as two recommendations: if you can, be near your boat where you can attend the lines, anchor points, and fenders yourself. Boats in other hard hit locations such as Escondido and San Carlos report that attended boats survived, unattended boats broke moorings, drug anchor, or smashed on docks. Staying in a marina with a dedicated, hard working dock crew helps enormously. The boat captains at Santa Rosalia could not say enough positive things about Escaula Nautical Singlar, her staff -- particularly Arturo and Alfonzo -- and her management. Harbormaster Carlos and his team were impressive, courageous, and critical to the survival of the boats in that harbor.

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I know quite a few of my readers are fellow Sea of Cortez cruisers. While the storm experience is still fresh in your mind, please add comments and suggestions to this post. If I get enough, I’ll compile them for a second round.

1 comment:

s/v Ocean Blue II said...

Chafe gear, chafe gear & more chafe gear. Have it at the ready to replace & constantly keep adjusting.