Getting Ready For Lee

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Phyllis and I just finished getting ready for Hurricane Lee. All going well, we will only get tropical storm-force winds here, but who knows, particularly since we are in the dangerous semicircle.

We could also get some pretty nasty surge out of this, but AAC World Headquarters is up a sheltered inlet and 75 feet above high water.

Anyway, we may be off the air for a few days due to power and internet being down, particularly since the ground is saturated from recent rains, which makes trees more unstable, and the leaves are still on, which doesn’t help either—downed trees are the primary reason for power and internet failures around here.

As soon as both come back we will publish the first of two parts on replacing diesel fuel for electrical generation with renewables: solar, wind and hydrogeneration.

That said, Lee, together with being away for several days to attend a late friend’s memorial service, mean we will be an article short in September. However, if memory serves, that’s the first miss in two years. Fewer tips this month too.

Wishing everyone in the path of Lee, or any other tropical nasty, all the best.

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Dick Stevenson

Hi John and all,
Looking at the picture: with your boat stripped of its mainsail and your neighbor’s sail still bent on (although looking very sleek), I am reminded that in the anchorages and mooring fields that I know that have been hit with hurricane force winds that my estimation was that the most damage was done by other peoples’ boats (aside from marinas which is often the last place one wants to be).
Sometimes it was a lack of preparation and a headsail got loose. Often the moorings were inadequate and the boat dragged through the field reeking damage as it went and cutting loose the mooring lines of its neighbors as its prop backed into it. Some harbormasters are good and demand reasonable standards, but often there is little to be done for those who rely on luck or insurance. When in a mooring field, I got to know my neighbors and we had a plan.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy 

John Cobb

Good luck!

Eric Klem

Hi John and Phyllis,

Good luck with the storm, I hope you and everyone else makes it through with no injuries or damage. With all the prep work, hopefully the storm will take notice and fizzle so you don’t see much wind or waves.

Our ground here is really saturated as well and even though we will likely get a lot less wind than you, I fear we may well have a decent amount of trees down.


Rene Blei

Thank you John and we will pray.


Jack Ellis

Good luck up there! We just came back south from a great summer in Nova Scotia, and we dodged the bullet currently hiding out way up Narragansett Bay in RI, but are thinking of all the extremely nice Nova Scotians that we met and hoping for the best for you all. You just couldn’t catch a break up there this summer what with the fires, floods, rain, now Lee!

And Dick, thanks so much for your notes, which we referred to multiple times, and were extremely helpful.

On a side note, we did see Morgan’s Cloud on AIS one day while in Mahone Bay!

Good luck,
Jack & Lucie

Matt Marsh

When the news pundits start saying things like “On the bright side, it looks like the floods from the hurricane are going to put out the raging wildfires!” you just have to stop and laugh-cry for a moment.

Roger Bigger

On the storm prep: I’d add do what you can to verify your mooring anchor is sized correctly. We purchased an “800 lbs” in place mushroom only to find later it was actually 500 lbs. (the harbor master previously attested to the size, so nothing is as good as eyes on inspection). Also, ‘strongly recommend a well-designed and -built storm bridle attached to a very strong point. And it’s reasonable to contact neighbors and request that hey remove windage.

good luck and stay safe.

Matt Marsh

Indeed. A *lot* of moorings are really not so good, and fat-fingering the numbers on the paperwork (8 is just one slip away from 5) happens worryingly often.
The one at the Morgan’s Cloud Base Camp (two 2-ton granite boulders through-drilled with 1.5″ steel bar) is among the few I’ve seen that are designed to be trustworthy in a real blow:

And there’s definitely no substitute for taking every scrap of loose canvas off and storing it belowdecks. We trailer boaters know this — our vessels are subjected to 64–82 knots (i.e. Cat 1 hurricane) on a weekly basis — but those who don’t see such wind speeds regularly tend to forget that the speed-squared factor in the aero load equations is really a killer.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Matt,
In a contest between weight and design in an anchor, I would lean toward design. The same goes for moorings.
It has been a while since I have thought about moorings, but the reputation for granite blocks, which one could find particularly in Maine, was that they could and did wander around a bit in a big blow: they often sit proud of the seabed and do not dig in, so weight and friction are the only contributing factors keeping the boat in place, not design. If memory serves, the Hurricane Island Outward Bound moorings showed this to be the case.
Now, 2 ton is a lot of weight, but how much weight is that in the water when the volume of water displaced is mixed into the equation. Granite is dense, but a lot of weight is lost,
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy 

Richard Peek

Just got our boat put back together after sitting through Lee on anchor in Smiths Cove near Castine, Maine. Several boats dragged with 2 very close to going on the rocks. All ended up safe in the end!

Dick Stevenson

Hi Richard,
I would be interested in some details: were there things done that kept you in place and were there decisions by the ones who dragged which contributed to their problems: all obviously your take?
What anchors were used, by you and by others? One anchor or a combination of some sort?
Thanks for your thoughts, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy