Jul 27, 2009

Now THAT was a STORM!

We live on the panhandle of Florida, midway between Pensacola and Panama City. Every year, starting in late May / early June, the local news stations start the 'Hurricane Hype". They throw up maps of the Caribbean and Gulf and point to tiny spots that need to be "watched" for hurricane development. Because of this constant weather noise, we have learned to treat the weather forecasters like the screaming voices on an infomercial.

Now we're on our sailboat sitting in a marina in Gloucester, Virginia. We are slowly learning that the TV weather guys deserve our FULL

Our boat, with it's sun cover and tarp forward.

Yesterday, the TV weather guys started early - "Due to high temperatures and an approaching storm system, thunderstorms are expected to be strong this afternoon."
I'm pretty sure we heard that but later in the day it was reinforced by a "Strong Thunderstorm Warning". Not feeling any rain and seeing a lot of blue sky we thought little of it and settled down to relax for the afternoon. Minutes later we heard thunder and looked out to see a black sky in the distance, full of lighting.

We quickly shut down and unplugged the computer, turned off the TV and disconnected the antennas that are on top of the 76 foot tall mast. Then the storm was on us. Someone clocked the winds at 56 knots (that's 64 mph) and all of the boats were dancing in their berths. Some were gracefully pulling on their lines, others boats slammed less gracefully against the dock. We looked up from our cockpit to see
THROUGH our sun canopy - it was coming apart in the strong wind. When the storm had finally passed we went out to survey the damage and clean up. Our sun cover and tarp were both gone, shredded to pieces. We spent the next hour cutting away what was left.

We really can't complain, the tarp was cheap and the canvas sun cover was 15 years old. It had served us well but we were already pretty sure it was finished after this season. Other boats were not so lucky. This guy did not put away his roller-furling jib very well and he's obviously paid the price. OUCH!

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4 COMMENTS - Click here to leave YOURS!:

Anonymous said...

Wow! That sounds like strong wind! Sorry to hear about your cover. My uncle once found a chicken up a tree after a tornado. When he went up the ladder to get it, the chicken nearly pecked my Uncle's eyes out. I'd have left the bird up the tree. ;-)


Dianna said...

OMG! I am so glad you guys were not hurt.... Maybe insurance will cover the tarp and the sun cover....

David said...

I'm in DC not too far meteorologically from where you are currently. The weather forecasters along the mid-Atlantic are notorious for being very accurate in telling you what is happening right now outside the window but rather lacking on predicting tomorrow or later.

But since the summer weather pattern is commonly high humidity and pretty warm, it becomes easy for them to predict those afternoon thunderstorms since they are pretty much a regular feature.

Hope you get your boat restored quickly so you can continue to enjoy your trip safely.


storybeader said...

sorry to hear about your sun cover. Keep those bumpers out!

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