Tales of Truelove – Hurricane Danielle – Episode 8

 

Hurricane Danielle was following right in the wake of Hurricane Bonnie. She sat off the northeastern shore of the Bahamas and gave every indication of coming to hit us one more time. For several days she taunted and threatened by lurking right off the East Coast within easy striking distance of Truelove.

Fortunately, for reasons even the hurricane experts have a hard time fathoming, Danielle decided not to come ashore. Churning up the Atlantic was enough for her. What she did do to all of us at Sea Gate was to pin us down. I had learned that hurricanes are not the least bit predictable. I was not about to let down my guard or loosen a single dockline, even when Danielle moved almost due east and hundreds of miles offshore. Only when Danielle was north and further east did I believe she was really gone. As it turned out, she continued on across the Atlantic and severely battered an acquantance, Tory (Victoria) Murden, from Louisville, Kentucky, who was rowing (yes rowing) single-handed across the Atlantic. Tory was trying to become the first woman to row across the Atlantic. Danielle forced Tory to abandon her historic attempt agonizingly close to France.

With Danielle gone I was ready to go sailing. I was in critical condition. Cabin fever was rampant. The sky was blue. There was wind. Get me out of here!

When I declared my intentions, Lynne Bourne from s/v Suits Us exclaimed, “You’re crazy.” To which I replied, “Well, I’m ugly, too, but you don’t have to point it out.” She went on, “Hurricane Earl is coming.” “No, no,” I crowed confidently, “Hurricane Earl is in the Gulf of Mexico and is going to hit the Florida panhandle. In a few days it will just be a low pressure center bringing thunderstorms to Kentucky.”

With that declaration I untied my many docklines, bent on the sails, and struck out north on the ICW. That night I anchored in a cove called Cedar Creek on the ICW just in from the Neuse River. The cove is actually the confluence of Cedar Creek and Adams Creek, which has been dredged to become the ICW. It is a very pleasant little anchorage and a favorite of many who transit the ICW.

The next morning I headed out into the Neuse River and pointed Truelove’s bow east across the Pamlico Sound. My destination was Ocracoke Island. The blue skies of the previous day had given way to rain. But at least I had wind. In fact, at first the winds were so strong that I considered putting a reef in the main or just sailing with the mizzen and staysail alone. By the time I had raised the mizzen and staysail, the wind had started to drop, so I raised the main and unfurled the jib. That did it! It was enough to completely kill the wind. Instead of too much wind, I now had too little.

Having been cooped up for so long, I was determined to sail. I ghosted along for several hours but only traveled a few miles. Despite my urge to sail, I began to calculate that at the rate I was traveling it would be several days before I could complete the thirty or so miles to Ocracoke. I began to look at the chart for alternative destinations that were considerably closer.

North of the Neuse River is the Bay River, which runs approximately east-west, parallel to the Neuse. Even though the guidebook indicated that Bonner Bay off of the Bay River was not a great anchorage, it looked like the best prospect nearest my location. As I turned to sail to Bonner Bay, the wind dropped even further, making the engine a necessity.

After furling the sails, I began to motor toward the Bay River. Just to check, I turned to the weather channel on the VHF radio. Lo and behold, “The remnants of Hurricane Earl will be passing through the Neuse River / Pamlico Sound area tonight. Storm cells associated with the Hurricane may include heavy rain, lightening, hail, and winds of eighty knots.” Eighty knots?!!! That is ninety-two miles per hour, just three miles per hour less than Bonnie at her worst. And that was at a protected dock with a spiderweb of docklines. Suddenly this was not funny; this was a serious situation.

I was reminded of a phrase I had seen on the Internet. I wish I had noticed who wrote it to give them credit. It went, “A good cruiser uses his or her superior judgment to avoid using his or her superior skills.” Unfortunately, my cabin fever had overcome what judgment I had, so now I was going to get an unexpected opportunity to use what skills I had.

Rechecking the chart, Bonner Bay still seemed like my best, and just about only, reasonable prospect. At first I thought it was named “Boner” Bay, which probably would have been more appropriate given my exploits, as you will read. As I motored on with greater urgency, the rain returned and got colder and heavier. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Bonner Bay appeared through the rain and mist. It was a nice, wide bay with shallows on each side and a large area in the middle for anchoring. There was only one other sailboat already anchored in the Bay. It was good to know that at least somebody else thought that the Bay was a reasonable place to anchor.

I motored past the other sailboat, a smaller, steel-hulled sloop. I wanted to get as deeply into the protection of the Bay as I could without taking a chance on running aground. When I finally did head up into the wind to drop my anchor, I was at least a half a mile away from the other boat. Plenty of room to swing, or so I hoped.

My best regular anchor was a thirty-five pound CQR (looks like a plow) which I had attached to my all-chain rode. My other regular anchor was a Danforth anchor (has two large triangular flukes that dig into the seabed) of about twenty-five pounds attached to thirty feet of chain and a three-quarter-inch rope rode. When I first acquired Truelove, I felt that a thirty-five pound CQR was not really large enough, even with all-chain rode. So, in the Spring I had begun looking for a larger anchor.

Studies by Practical Sailor, Boat US, West Marine, and others seemed to indicate that Fortress anchors had exceptionally high holding power, though they were reputed to be difficult to set. Fortress anchors are aluminum anchors that look almost identical to Danforth anchors but depend upon their precise design and larger flukes to dig into the seabed. I had been looking for a rather large Fortress anchor called an “FX-55” when I happened across an “FX-125” on the internet at a Florida consignment shop at a bargain price. At the time I thought, “Nobody ever lost any sleep at night worrying that their anchor was too big; I’ll just go with the bigger version at the good price.” When the anchor arrived, it was not just bigger, it was huge! I realized that it probably would not be practical for normal use but might come in handy as a storm anchor. Fortunately, it comes apart and stows in its own carrying case.

Here I was about to be in a serious storm, so did I bring out my storm anchor, put it together, and deploy it? No, of course not. (Remember “Boner”) For one thing dragging the Fortress out and putting it together would have taken a considerable amount of effort, and perhaps more importantly, time. While I worked to put the Fortress together, I would have had to drift in deteriorating conditions or deploy the CQR and then retrieve it and drift while I switched the Fortress to the chain rode. In hindsight, what I should have done was to deploy the Danforth anchor with its rope rode while I put the Fortress together and on the chain.

Of course, hindsight is wonderful. Why don’t we think of these things at the time? Probably because of fatigue. I am beginning to find that being tired on a boat, even more than on land for some reason, can cause me to forget much of what I thought I had learned over many years of sailing with Karl Millen. As you may have suspected, this is now my excuse for lying in the hammock strung between the masts, sipping a libation, and staving off “fatigue.” It is just a safety factor, you understand.

Another reason I was reluctant to deploy the Fortress was concern for getting it back. I had found that the chain gypsy on my manual windlass apparantly did not match the size of chain of my all-chain rode. When I had tried to use the windlass to hoist the anchor at Cedar Creek, the chain kept slipping out of the grooves in the gypsy. As a result, I was not sure I would be able to dig the Fortress out of the seabed and lift it back aboard by myself. I did not want to contribute the Fortress to Bonner Bay. With this concern in mind, I convinced myself that I probably would not be hit by one of the storm cells and it was not worth it to take a chance of loosing my shiny, new anchor.

I deployed the CQR and dropped back on the chain. I thought that I had let out a considerable amount of scope. But without any markings on the chain, I really did not know for sure how much I had used. I looked at the angle of the chain to the water surface to conclude that I had at least seven-to-one scope.

By the time I had the CQR deployed, it was pitch dark. The cold rain had continued and the wind had begun to blow pretty hard. Small waves where beginning to build in the Bay. I was truly soaked to the skin as I used the engine to back Truelove and try to set the anchor as deep as possible. I put the engine in neutral, took bearings on the anchor light of the nearby sailboat, waited, and just watched. Truelove road to the anchor nicely, not even noticing the small waves (there are some advantages to a large, heavy boat).

When I thought that Truelove was going to stay put, I gladly went below. Ah! A dry cabin on a cold, rainy night is a joy forever. The only thing better – a hot shower and dry clothes. Yes, loyal readers, Truelove does have a system that uses heat from the engine to generate about five gallons of hot water. Doesn’t everybody take a shower during a storm? Actually it was not just decadence, well not entirely. Having been thoroughly chilled to the bone by hours in the cold rain, it did not make sense to stand around inviting hypothermia. (See, just another safety factor.) After my shower, I fired up the propane stove and fixed dinner; one has to keep one’s energy level up, too. I am making this all sound pretty blasé, but to be honest, I did all these things in record time and was pretty worried the whole time – and for good reason.

I constantly watched the anchor light of the other sailboat out of one of my portlights. Even though Truelove was swinging around a lot, as long as the other boat’s anchor light stayed pretty much in the same place, I felt that I was not dragging. I figured that it was unlikely that both boats would drag the same amount at the same time. Without any other lights on the shore or in the vicinity, the other boat was my only point of reference. Suddenly the light seemed to move forward. Oh no! I am dragging! I threw open the hatch and leaped up on deck. Sure enough, I had started to drag.

I went to the bow and let out another fifty feet of chain. The anchor reset and seemed to hold well now. I wanted to deploy the Danforth anchor as a backup. I knew that the proper way to do that was to motor forward at about forty-five degrees from the main anchor and drop the second anchor on a line even with the first anchor. Having just dragged the first anchor, I was reluctant to do anything that might break it loose. So I just waited for a swing and deployed the Danforth as best I could right off the bow. I knew in my heart that this method was next to worthless, but I rationalized that if the CQR did drag again, the rode for the Danforth would be stretched out and the second anchor would then be able to help the first. After letting out the chain and deploying the Danforth, I waited and watched. Even though the wind speed had picked up, Truelove was holding her position.

I went back below, but with a lot more anxiety. I watched the other boat’s anchor light even more dutifully. After an hour or so of constant vigilance, once again it seemed to shoot forward. Oh no! Not again! I bounded up on deck and looked. No. There she was, just where she had always been. It must have been a wide swing of Truelove that changed the angle. Whew! This is getting hard on my nerves.

Since I had not permanently installed the GPS receiver, I was able to move it out of the cockpit and down into the saloon. As the storm blew Truelove back on the anchor and then let her come up then blew her from side to side, the screen on the GPS that shows the track of the boat scribed a jagged ball of lines – just what I wanted to keep seeing. After a while, as I watched the other boat’s anchor light and the track on the GPS, a straight line emerged out of the bottom of the jagged ball on the screen. I was moving aft again! Bang, out the hatch and into the rain. No, I have not moved an inch. What the hell? All I could figure was the military had chosen that inauspicious moment to turn on their “selective availability” that they use to keep civilian GPS from being accurate enough for terrorist to use for targeting. My nerves would have appreciated their picking some other time to play those types of “patriot games.”

The wind stayed out of the east and built to more than Karl Millen’s proverbial “twenty knots.” After hours of tense watching and waiting, my confidence was growing that the CQR and chain were going to hold Truelove. Real fatigue was weighing me down. I decided to take another chance and crawl into my bunk in the aft cabin. I really did not expect or intend to sleep, but I hoped to rest at least some.

I could watch the windvane on the mainmast out of the clear hatch over the aft bunk. The anchor light provided just the right light to illuminate the vane’s reflective underside. As the night wore on, I watched the vane periodically swing back and forth as Truelove moved about on the anchor.

As I dozed barely below full consciousness, I sensed a different movement to Truelove. Something had changed drastically. I looked up at the windvane and it was pointing directly toward the starboard side. Wow! What a swing (I hoped)! But it did not swing back. Oh Hell!!! The anchor had completely broken loose and I was flying downwind sideways.

I catapulted myself out of the hatch and looked around. The feared storm cell had not missed me as I had fervently hoped. It had arrived with screaming winds and rain that stung. The wind had clocked ninety degrees, now out of the south. The shift in direction and sudden increase in speed had wrenched the anchor right out of the seabed. Truelove was driving downwind sideways, right for the other sailboat. A half-mile of room was dwindling quickly.

I turned Truelove’s wheel and hoped that she would respond. In the meantime, I struggled to get the engine started. Much to my relief, Truelove’s bow began to come up into the wind. As soon as it did, she slowed down just enough for the anchor to stop flying through the water. The anchor settled down and got a bite on the seabed. The CQR set, Truelove suddenly swung bow to the wind, and the chain jerked bar tight. Thank you, thank you! The wild ride had stopped for now, but would she hold?

I looked aft to see that the sailboat that had been half a mile away was now just fifty yards at the most directly downwind! The anchor seemed to be holding, but what if it did not? If it let go like it had just done, I would smash the other sailboat before I could get out of the cabin. Sailing a large steel boat does have its responsibilities; wiping out a smaller sailboat that is riding nicely at its own anchor is probably considered “bad form.”

Now what do I do besides a lot of praying? (Isn’t it interesting how storms can refresh your religious feelings.) The storm anchor would certainly be in order, but now, in the teeth of a real storm, it would be even more difficult to get it down. I was afraid that if I deployed it on the rope rode in such strong wind, I stood a good chance of snapping the rode. That was probably not accurate since rope rode often has a higher breaking strength than chain, but at the time it seem right. Again, how was I going to come up on the CQR, haul in all that chain, and transfer the chain to the Fortress without drifting right down on top of the other sailboat? It was not a great time to be single-handing. A first mate might be able to hold Truelove into the wind with the engine while I made the switch to the larger anchor.

I was not sure how I was going to deploy it, but it definitely had come time to get the Fortress out of stowage and put it together. Two things about Truelove made this difficult situation considerably easier. Truelove has wide, flat cabin tops. They provide excellent space for working, even putting a huge anchor together in eighty knots of wind. The other nice thing about Truelove is that she has excellent spreader lights fore and aft that really light up the deck.

As I put the Fortress together on the foredeck, I kept a very close eye on my position relative to the other sailboat. At the first sign of slippage, I wanted to be able to throw the engine in gear and at least try to maneuver to miss it. By the time I got the Fortress ready, it appeared that the CQR was going to hold. I was torn. I really did not want to try to play games in this much wind. I was not sure whether Truelove’s engine could make way against eighty knots. If I tried and only succeeded in breaking the CQR free again, I would be in much worse circumstances.

I waited and watched and waited and watched. No hot shower this time. Just cold, stinging rain and constant vigilance on deck. I looked at my watch. Two o’clock in the morning. Four hours before sunrise. It was going to be a long night.

By about five in the morning the wind was still howling but the sky began to lighten prior to the actual sunrise. I went forward to check on the anchor chain, still bar tight straight from the bow to the anchor. I noticed that the rope rode was still over the bow roller. I had completely forgotten about the Danforth. While the chain was extending essentially straight out from the bow, the rope rode was under the chain and angled about fifty degrees to starboard. Apparently when the wind had shifted and the CQR broken loose, the Danforth had set and held to some extent.

I pulled on the rode to see how well the Danforth was holding. Not well. Apparently it was not taking any of the real pressure; it was just holding Truelove off to the side. I was able to pull the rode in and take up the anchor.

When I got the Danforth out of the water, Truelove swung slightly to port. Now she was straight downwind from the CQR. The Danforth had been holding her more to starboard. When I looked aft, I was shocked to see that now Truelove was not upwind of the other sailboat. If she dragged her anchor, she would safely zip right past the other boat. It quickly dawned on me that I had just spent four excruciating hours when all I had had to do was raise the Danforth. A primal scream pierced the storm as one very tired but somewhat wiser sailor dragged his “pain-racked body” into his bunk for some serious fatigue reduction.

 

Next Installment: “The Plumber and Friends”

 

Lee Huddleston

s/v Truelove

lying Sea Gate Marina

Core Creek, North Carolina

Tales of Truelove – Hurricane ! Episode 7

It has been so long since I published Installment No. 6, I thought that it might be helpful to reprint the last paragraph of that installment before going on with the saga.

 

[“Just before dawn I was getting close. At Havelock, North Carolina I turned off of Highway 70 onto the secondary road that leads to Sea Gate. Just about fifteen miles to go. As I topped the hill right at the entrance to the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, there they were – enough red and blue flashing lights to give a rescue squad groupee an organism. No, no, no!!! I can’t get this close and be blocked from getting to Truelove. She needs me. What can I tell these people to convince them to let me through? A sick friend? Get ready, Lee. Twenty-seven years of professional BS-ing has prepared you for this one moment in time. You must get through!”]

 

All those brilliant stories, a friend in need, an aging grandmother, wasted. It turned out that a Marine returning to the base after a night of R&R had missed the turn and driven into a deep gully near the main gate. Instead of wanting me to stop, the swarm of authorities were downright insistent that I keep moving, and I was glad to oblige. My body had already been fired up with thirteen hours of worry that my beloved boat would be destroyed before I could get to her. Now it took several more miles of driving for my adrenaline to return to being simply elevated.

 

Would I be too late? Would my way be blocked by downed trees and utility poles? As I approached Sea Gate after driving all night, the sky was just beginning to lighten. When I pulled into the parking lot of the Marina, there was an eerie silence. The Marina office was boarded up and there was not a person around. The sky was overcast and there was a modest breeze, but otherwise there was not the slightest sign of the impending hurricane. It was not at all what I had expected to find. There was an unsettling strangeness that made me wonder if maybe I had missed some great news while I had been driving. But at least I had beaten Bonnie to Truelove.

 

How much time did I have to get ready before the onslaught? Without access to my computer, I really did not have an accurate idea of where Bonnie was and what she was going to do. Of course, I had already learned that even with the computer there was not nearly as much long-range predicting as I had previously thought possible with hurricanes. I was really worried that with very little warning the wind would begin to howl and Truelove would be caught unprepared. As it turned out, Bonnie was off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina, just sitting there threatening. My fears were not unfounded; when Bonnie chose to move she could easily move toward Truelove very quickly.

 

I immediately set to work feverishly doing everything I could to protect Truelove. I began by doubling the spiderweb of lines holding the bow and stern and the spring-lines running the length of the hull. I had been unable to find three-quarter-inch nylon line in Bowling Green and had to add lenghts of half-inch line to the three-quarter inch docklines already in place. With breaking strenghts of hundreds of pounds, I could only hope that they would hold.

 

I then set to preparing the deck for the anticipated wind. Everything that could be removed was removed. For example, Alex Carthay had given me several sheets of heavy aluminum plate with which to possibly build a pilothouse for Truelove. Until I could figure out what to do with the plates, I had stowed them on the poop deck. While it would take one-hell-of-a wind to move them, if they ever did get airborne, they would be deadly missiles. They and everything else that could be detached were moved below.

 

I then tied the main and mizzen booms down so that they could not swing. Halyards and sheets were tied tightly and pulled away from the masts to prevent chafe and noise. The aft deck box that runs athwartship along the stern is not secured to the deck, so it was tied down. For good measure, the lids on the other two deck boxes, that run along each side of the poop, were tied down to keep the wind from blowing them open. Every fender I had was deployed along the sides close to the pylons and finger dock.

 

By this time other people were beginning to stir about the Marina. It was reassuring to find that everyone had not evacuated. Lynne Bourne from s/v Suits Us walked by and simply said, “Too tight.” “What do you mean?” I asked. She explained, “You have done a nice job of tying off your boat, but you have not allowed for the storm surge. When the water suddenly rises five or six feet above high tide, Truelove will be held down by all those lines or something will have to give.” Lynne went on to say that the lines had to be so loose that Truelove could almost, but not quite, hit the dock or pylon on the side opposite the line. This would provide the slack that a sudden storm surge would eat up quickly.

 

I also noticed that several boats had their anchors set in the lot across the water in front of their bows. When I asked Lynne about the advisability of doing this, she opined that it was not worth the effort and that she had rather be able to motor forward with the engine if the pressure got too great on the bow.

 

Grumbling at having to reset all my lines, but very grateful for the wise counsel I had received from Lynne, I began the process of untying and retying the many lines. By the time I finished this task the wind speed increased rather quickly and it began to spit rain. I had gotten lucky; Bonnie had given me just enough time to do all that could be done. Now I had to wait, see, and worry if my efforts had been sufficient to save Truelove. It was far from a sure thing. Much depended on where Bonnie went ashore and how fast her top wind speed was when she hit us.

 

By mid afternoon, Bonnie began to drift in toward Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, just east of Wilmington. Polly McIlvoy, the mother of my good friends from the Port Oliver Yacht Club in Kentucky, Linda Penn and Carol Kersting, has a beautiful house on Wrightsville Beach. The house had been flooded and severely damaged by Hurricane Fran a couple of years before. Polly had just completed the renovations. Now Hurricane Bonnie was repeating the assault. My heart went out to her while we waited to see what Bonnie would do to us next.

 

Wrightsville Beach is about sixty-three miles from Beaufort by sea. Once the Hurricane moved and began battering the shore, her outlying winds reached the Sea Gate area. We were on her northern side where the counter-clockwise rotation of the winds bring them out of the east. With very little warning the wind began to blow hard right on Truelove’s bow. The wind would gust to forty to forty-five knots and then “subside” to thirty or thirty-five.

 

Then the rains came. And, man, did it rain! It was like being hit with a firehose. In Kentucky we would call it a genuine “frog strangler.” At times it was hard to discern where the water stopped and the air began. Inches and inches of rain fell (or more correctly were blown sideways) every minute. Like the wind, the rain came in bands, first pouring down for twenty minutes and then just raining hard and then pouring down.

 

So far so good. Truelove was holding her position in the slip with little apparent difficulty. Of course, she was presenting the least windage toward the wind direction and her bow and spring lines were in their best position for the direction of pull. And, we were only getting the mere “preview of coming attractions.” Karl Millen would have given us his classic declaration for all winds under hurricane strength, “It’s just a twenty knot breeze.”

 

With the extraordinary flood of rain, I was especially glad to note that Truelove did not leak. If she did not leak now, she probably would not leak under any normal conditions.

 

Would Bonnie finally go ashore at Wrightsville Beach or would she skim along the shore and head right for Beaufort? As darkness fell, we listened to the radio and waited. For the time being Bonnie was content to do a thorough job of pounding Wrightsville Beach and let us keep waiting and wondering.

 

Finally, around nine o’clock, Bonnie came ashore and began moving slowly due north, right for New Bern, North Carolina, only about thirty-five miles from Sea Gate. The predicted path would put Bonnie between New Bern and Sea Gate. With hurricane-force winds reaching out as much as seventy-five miles from the eye, we were in for a serious blow. Our only saving factor was that, as Bonnie traveled over land, her top wind speed would probably decrease somewhat. As her maximum speed was now 115 miles per hour, we certainly hoped it would decrease.

 

We could tell that Bonnie was moving even without listening to the radio. The wind direction started clocking from east to east-southeast to southeast and the wind speed steadily increased. We were now in the northeastern quadrant of the Hurricane as Bonnie moved north.

 

If you have a choice, it is better to be in the right-hand side (as you face it) of a hurricane (the western side if it is heading north as Bonnie was) rather than the left-hand side. This is because the counter-clockwise rotation of the winds causes the wind speed on the left-hand side to be increased by the forward speed of the hurricane while the wind speed on the right-hand side is decreased by the forward speed. The difference of twenty knots, for example, from one side to the other could mean the difference in survival and destruction. Of course, we had no choice and were right in the middle of the left-hand side of Bonnie.

 

By around one o’clock in the morning the eye of Bonnie moved to west of our position. We were finally ready for the “main feature.” The winds roared out of the south, hitting Truelove on her starboard side with its maximum windage and least effective set of docklines. There was one boat, m/v Manatee, a thirty-foot trawler, in the slip to windward that afforded just a little protection for Truelove. When the winds continued to rise, 30,000 pound Truelove heeled as much as thirty degrees with bare poles. Even without an anemometer, you just know it is more than “twenty knots” when that happens. Manatee, many of the other smaller sailboats, and even some of the really large trawlers were heeling even more. With only twenty-five yards of water from the shore to the docks, there was sufficient fetch to create three foot waves and continuous whitecaps.

 

When the wind hit ninety-five miles per hour (confirmed by the NOAA weather station five miles away), it set up a sound that I have never heard before and, God willing, I will never hear on the ocean. I can only describe it as a woman wailing in great distress. The memory of it still sends chills down my spine. Any ancient mariner who heard such a sound has my understanding and empathy for concluding that there are spirits and things that go bump in the night.

 

As the wind shrieked and tried its best to rip Truelove from her slip, the docklines stretched and strained. It is quite an experience to see large lines squeeze and shrink as they are pulled to their limits. But, if the wind did not get any higher, it looked like the lines would hold and Truelove would be safe. I sure was glad that I had come down to protect her.

 

Even in the peak of the storm the wind tended to rise and fall. As I stood on my poop deck, holding on for dear life, I watched the gusts stretch the three-quarter-inch docklines and push Truelove within six inches of the pylon on her port side. During one of the “lulls” I was able to reach down and take another wrap with the dockline on the stern cleat at the starboard quarter. When the next gust came, I could see that Truelove was now being held off the pylon with a little more comfortable distance. Thinking I was alone, relieved that the lines were holding, and pleased with myself moving Truelove a little farther from the pylon, I pumped my right fist back and exclaimed out loud, “Yeah!” Little did I know that Lynne and her son, Sean, were watching me from Suits Us. They thought I was just out defying the wind and “enjoying” the storm. Out of the night I heard, “Go below, you idiot, it’s a hurricane!”

 

I concluded that I had done about all that I could do at that late hour and that Truelove would probably be safe as long as the wind speed did not increase any more, so I decided to take their “advice” and go below. Having driven and worried all night and worked hard and worried all day, I crawled into the the bunk and went to sleep, right at the height of the storm.

 

At two o’clock in the moring I heard shouts and saw lights flashing into my cabin. When I went out to investigate, Sean hollered over the noise of the wind that he thought the sailboat across the dock from Truelove might be sinking. The boat was heeling farther than the other sailboats around her. He had called her owners, Luther and Rosie, a couple who had sailed her over from Germany. Luther found that there was no water in the boat and concluded that the extra heeling was simply because of her somewhat flat-bottomed design. With that excitement over, we all went back to our bunks.

 

A couple of hours later I heard what sounded like a rifle shot and went to investigate. Sean and Richard Becker from m/v Blue Skies also heard the noise and came to check. We found that the fierce wind on Manatee’s starboard side had finally become too much for her docklines on that side. The lines had snapped after being stretched to the limit. Manatee was now banging up against the pylons on Truelove’s starboard side, to which Truelove was tied. This was not a good situation. Besides the damage to Manatee, if those pylons were knocked down (and the Hurricane and Manatee were trying their best to do that as quickly as possible), Truelove would break loose, wipe out the next set of pylons, and start an avalanche of boats on down the dock. Needless to say, Richard, Sean, and I were on Manatee and rigging new, double lines in a heartbeat.

 

By the time we finished with Manatee the sky was beginning to show some light. The wind had clocked just a little but was still blowing at hurricane strength. We decided to check all the boats on the docks to make sure none had come loose and were being damaged. As we went from boat-to-boat adjusting lines, I commented that we were like a bunch of school boys playing in the water puddles. We were helping people out who had not come or stayed for the Hurricane, but we sure were having fun.

 

As the morning wore on, Hurricane Bonnie continued to move north and then northeast, back toward the sea. As she moved, the wind clocked around to the southwest and then the west as we experienced the southern side of the Hurricane. Though the wind still blew pretty strongly, we were jaded and hardly noticed it. By this point we were veterans and knew we had made it.

 

During the night, when the wind was out of the south, the water had slowly risen just a couple of feet above normal high tide. We never did experience the dreaded storm surge. But, by the next afternoon, we witnessed a phenomenon that none of us had anticipated. Without any warning, the water started quickly draining out of the Marina. Before I realized what was happening, Truelove’s keel was sitting on the Marina bottom and she was leaning against a pylon, held upright by her docklines. Bonnie had moved north of the Pamlico Sound. The westerly winds in her southern half had driven the water right out of the Sound into the ocean. In turn, the ICW at Sea Gate had drained along with the Neuse River right into the Sound.

 

Throughout the Hurricane I had worn a bathing suit, tee-shirt, and my automatically inflatable SOSpenders PFD (personal flotation devise, i.e., life preserver). The SOSpenders are easy to wear and I like the idea that if I fall off the boat or the dock and hit my head the PFD will still inflate on its own. Several people teased me that, with the rain coming down so hard, the SOSpenders would probably inflate with me just standing on the deck. I was pleased to find that that did not happen. But, when I took the PFD off and set it down on my bunk after the Hurricane, I apparently set it down in such a way that the water could run up under the flap that protected the inflator. Poof!

 

After Bonnie had passed, several of us drove to Beaufort to view the aftermath. Three or four sailboats had dragged in the Town Creek area north of Beaufort and were now sitting up on sandbars. A beautiful forty-foot ketch had dragged its anchor on Taylor Creek, right at the Beaufort Docks, and was high and dry on shore at the end of Front Street. Some of the most extensive damage had been done to the Duke University Marine Biology Lab by a tornado that the Hurricane spawned. That distressed me to learn that tornados were a part of hurricanes. Tornados I know from Kentucky, and do not care for them at all. It was even more disturbing to find that a small tornado had touched down in the Sea Gate community less than a half mile from Truelove.

 

Now we can stand down from “red alert” and maybe even go sailing. No, guess what. There is another hurricane named Danielle off the East Coast, just about where Bonnie was not many days ago. Here we go again.

 

Next Installment: “Hurricanes Two And Three”

 

Lee Huddleston

s/v Truelove

lying Sea Gate Marina

Core Creek, North Carolina

Tales of Truelove – Episode 6 – The Hurricane

“Hurricane!!”  Just a word to me, just a West Indies word meaning “big wind.”  Sure, I had seen pictures on television, usually of trees bending down and stop signs undulating in the wind (what is it about dancing stop signs that always seems to capture the imagination of cameramen?)  I had even heard the stories brought back from the Virgin Islands by my brother, Philip, and other friends, Karl Millen, Bob Markle and Lee Martin, but they had only caught “glancing blows” (pardon the pun) from Hurricanes David and Frederic while on land and many years ago.  My vicarious experiences with hurricanes had hardly prepared me for the real thing.  That gap in my personal knowledge was about to be remedied times three.

I knew that Truelove was in an area that was susceptible to hurricanes from time-to-time.  And I knew that the hurricane season runs officially from June 1 until November 30 each year, with the greatest number of hurricanes occurring in August, September, and early October.  Still, I had the impression that the chances of any individual hurricane actually coming ashore within a range that could cause a problem for Truelove were pretty small.  Ah, the learning curve when one acquires a sailboat on the Atlantic Coast – so steep as to be almost vertical for a neophyte like me.  It turns out that North Carolina sticks out into the Gulf Stream just right to catch more than its share of hurricanes.  It also turns out that hurricanes are so large that they cause serious effects way beyond the eye of the storm.

As you read in Installment No. 5 of the Tales, I was thrilled to be in Sea Gate Marina because of its reputation as one of the best “hurricane holes” on the East Coast.  To understand why that is so, you need to understand the destructive characteristics of a hurricane.  The most obvious element of a hurricane is its extremely high winds, 75 miles per hour up to as high as 200 miles per hour, with about 110 miles per hour being an average, if there is such a figure.  But, until the winds get into the 115 miles per hour range and above, the wind alone is not usually the direct cause of the greatest damage.  To give you a feel for this idea, consider the defensive technique used in the Beaufort area by those who can afford to do it.  They run to Bock Marine and have their boats pulled out of the water and set up on the hard.  The boats are balanced on their keels with only jackstands to keep them from turning over.  You would think that this would be the absolutely worst thing to do in the face of a hurricane.  And, if wind were the primary culprit, you would be correct.

It turns out, however, that wind is not the worst enemy; it is the water.  Wind-driven waves, storm surges, extreme tides, and flooding usually cause the greatest destruction along a coast.  Because of its density, a large wave packs a huge amount of energy that is practically irresistible.  With salt water weighing in at about sixty-four pounds per cubic foot, it only takes a volume of water a little over three feet on each side to weigh a full ton.  To get another feel for how powerful water is, keep in mind that wood floats, that is, it is less dense than water.  Plus, wood can be compressed, while, in liquid form, water is virtually incompressible.  If a solid piece of wood the size of a house were about to hit you at thirty miles per hour, it would probably be time to duck.  Water in the form of a large wave is even worse!  You might ride over a wave, cut through a wave, or even deflect a wave under some circumstances; but when a wave has taken on hurricane size and speed, direct confrontation is only meant for rocky cliffs and shores.

In addition to huge breaking waves, hurricanes push gigantic area-wide bulges of water before them.  When these bulges reach the shore and drive in through the inlets, they create sudden floods of water from the ocean called “storm surges.”  While not transferring quite as much energy as a direct hit from a breaking wave, these surges are like a wall of water that still packs an extraordinary wallop.  A boat in the path can easily be ripped from its mooring, rolled, and torn to pieces in the blink of an eye.

Accordingly, Defensive Tactic Number One is obviously to stay out of the way of breaking waves.  We do that by simply getting behind whatever we can, preferably the biggest piece of land available.  Defensive Tactic Number Two is equally obvious, stay out of the way of the storm surge.  We do that by getting as far inland as possible.  This works because as the storm surge drives inland, the energy is absorbed by the interior shoreline, bodies of water, and unfortunate boats in its path.

Sea Gate Marina fits the bill for Tactics One and Two about as well as possible and still have reasonable access to the ocean when the hurricane is no longer a threat.  Sea Gate is about ten miles from the Ocean at Beaufort.  Clearly, no breaking waves could ever pose a threat.  But storm surges can travel many miles inland to work their wicked ways.  Fortunately, there are sizable bodies of water and marshy areas between Beaufort Inlet and Sea Gate.  There is the Turning Basin at the southeastern end of Morehead City and the Newport River just north of the City.  These bodies can absorb a great flood of water and its inherent energy before it reaches the narrow Core Creek and Adams Creek that make up the ICW north of Beaufort.  By the time a hurricane storm surge reaches Sea Gate and drives through the narrow entrance to the marina, it is more of a sudden rise in water level than a vicious wall of water.

But being in a hurricane hole and being prepared for a hurricane are two entirely different things.  When I left Truelove at Sea Gate, I tied her bow between the nearest pylons, tied her stern to large cleats on the dock, and rigged spring lines running from the bow to cleats on the dock at the stern and from the cleats on Truelove’s stern to the pylons near the bow.  She was ready for normal storms, but not hurricanes.  Without more, she would be beaten severely against the dock and pylons as well as against other boats in the marina.

I had planned to visit Truelove in mid September.  Appointments, court hearings, and all other “distractions” were pushed around to clear my schedule for the glorious trip to heaven.  It simply did not fit in with my plans to go a single day earlier.  As the poet, Robert Burns, pointed out long ago, such plans are oft times laid asunder.  He must have known about hurricanes.  Hurricanes have their own plans, and, if you own a boat on the Atlantic Coast, you’re included.

During the summer, I had only kept a very cursory watch on storms in the Atlantic.  I apparently assumed that I would have plenty of warning from the news media of any threatening hurricanes.  It was luck or perhaps some subliminal message that caused me to use my computer in late August to check the Storm Center website maintained by CNN on the internet (http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/storm.center/
index.html).  It, in turn, lead me to the National Hurricane Center website maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Miami (http://www.
nhc.noaa.gov/products.html).  I was shocked to learn that there was a big hurricane named Bonnie sitting right off the eastern shore of the Bahamas.

HURRICANE BONNIE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 11A  NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL  8 AM AST SAT AUG 22 1998  A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS..THE SOUTHEASTERN AND CENTRAL BAHAMAS.  A HURRICANE WATCH COULD BE ISSUED FOR THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS LATER TODAY.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA.  BONNIE COULD THREATEN THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.  AT 8 AM AST THE CENTER OF HURRICANE BONNIE WAS LOCATED BY RECONNAISSANCE PLANE NEAR LATITUDE 22.4 NORTH..LONGITUDE 70.0 WEST OR ABOUT 100 MILES NORTHEAST OF TURK ISLAND.

Once Bonnie got my attention, I was rivited to the computer, trying to gather every piece of information the internet had to offer.  There were histories of past hurricanes showing their eradic paths and differing levels of destruction (links at the CNN Storm Center webpage).  There were charts showing the number of hurricanes that had hit each section of the Coast.  There were great sites that let you fly along with the Hurricane Hunters (http://www.hurricanehunters.com/).  There were sites where you could learn all about the dynamics of hurricanes.

But general knowledge was not what I had in mind.  I wanted to know where Bonnie was going and when she planned to get there.  That information proved to be much more elusive than I had ever imagined, not for lack of a wealth of data on the internet, but because of the very nature of hurricanes.

I found that the National Hurricane Center published its data in several forms on its internet site.  There were “advisories”— bullitins more for public consumption and boadcast by the news media.  There were “discussions”— semi-technical statements seemingly aimed at amature and professional meterologist.  These discussions gave a surprisingly candid view of how difficult it is to accurately predict weather in general and hurricanes in particular.  There were “strike probabilities”—notices that listed various cities and other locations, giving the percentage possiblity that each city would be hit by the hurricane within several time periods.  In addition to the textual messages, there were colorful graphics with maps showing the track of the hurricane, maps of the areas under watches and warnings, maps showing the perdicted path of the hurricane with varrying degrees of probability shown in different colors, and graphs giving the anticipated increases and decreases in wind speed.

HURRICANE BONNIE DISCUSSION NUMBER 13  5 PM SAT AUG 22 1998  BONNIE HAS SLOWED DOWN..AS FORECAST BY THE GFDL..AND THE INITIAL MOTION IS 300/11.  LATEST NOGAPS KEEPS THE HURRICANE ON A GENERAL NORTHWEST TO NORTH-NORTHWEST TRACK AND BRINGS THE CENTER OF BONNIE NEAR THE SOUTH CAROLINA COAST BY EARLY WEDNESDAY.

The “300/11” refers to the direction of forward travel, 300 degrees, approximately west-northwest, and a forward-motion speed of eleven knots.  The “GFDL” and “NOGAPS” refer to meterlogical computer models that try to predict what a hurricane is going to do.  Great! She’s going to get South Carolina and not me.  Then by the next morning:

HURRICANE BONNIE ADVISORY NUMBER 15  5 AM EDT SUN AUG 23 1998  AT 5 AM EDT THE CENTER OF HURRICANE BONNIE WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.8 NORTH..LONGITUDE 71.7 WEST OR ABOUT 180 MILES EAST OF SAN SALVADOR ISLAND IN THE BAHAMAS.  STEERING CURRENTS HAVE WEAKENED..AND BONNIE IS NOW MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 6 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 105 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  THIS MAKES BONNIE A STRONG CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR/SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE.  SOME ADDITIONAL STREGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

By Sunday afternoon, Bonnie had slowed down even more and had started getting “squirrelly.”  My education in the unpredictability of hurricanes was about to begin.  And, when you are trying hard to find out whether or not you are going to have to make an emergency trip to the Coast, squirreliness and unpredictability are mind-boggling torture.

HURRICANE BONNIE DISCUSSION NUMBER 17  5 PM EDT SUN AUG 23 1998  WE ARE NOW FACED WITH THE DILEMMA OF THE FUTURE COURSE OF THIS HURRICANE.  THE PROBLEM IS COMPOUNDED BY THE FACT THAT SOME OF OUR BEST TRACK PREDICTION MODELS HAVE SHIFTED SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE LEFT AS COMPARED TO THIS MORNING.  ANOTHER MULTI-AIRCRAFT MISSION INVOLVING AIRCRAFT FROM BOTH NOAA AND NASA WILL PROVIDE EXTENSIVE SAMPLING OF THE STEERING ENVIRONMENT TODAY.  THEIR OBSERVATIONS SHOULD HELP IMPROVE THE INITIALIZATION AND BRING THE TRACK PREDITCTIONS TOGETHER..AND IMPROVE CONFIDENCE IN THIS VERY DIFFICULT FORECAST SITUATION.

By early Monday morning, Bonnie was still jerking me around.

HURRICANE BONNIE ADVISORY NUMBER 19  5 AM EDT MON AUG 24 1998..DANGEROUS HURRICANE BONNIE DRIFTING ERRATICALLY..AT 5 AM EDT THE CENTER OF HURRICANE BONNIE WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 25.2 NORTH..LONGITUDE 72.2 WEST OR ABOUT 165 MILES EAST-NORTHEAST OF SAN SALVADOR ISLAND IN THE BAHAMAS.  THE CENTER OF BONNIE CONTINUES TO DRIFT ERRATICALLY..BUT IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN TO MOVE TOWARD THE NORTHWEST AT 5 MPH TODAY AND TO GRADUALLY INCREASE ITS FORWARD SPEED.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 115 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  SOME FLUCTUATION IN INTENSITY MAY OCCUR BUT BONNIE IS FORECAST TO REMAIN A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  LARGE SWELLS ARE PROPAGATING WELL AHEAD OF THE HURRICANE AND ARE IMPACTING PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHEAST U.S. COAST.

By Monday afternoon, the uncertainty had not improved.

HURRICANE BONNIE DISCUSSION NUMBER 21  5 PM EDT MON AUG 24 1998  A SLOW MOTION TOWARD THE NORTHWEST IS EVIDENT..ESTIMATED TO BE 325/05.  OBJECTIVE GUIDANCE IS..SHALL I SAY..DIVERGENT.  AT 72 HOURS THERE IS NEARLY A 1200 N MI SPREAD BETWEEN THE MEDIUM BAM..NEAR THE GEORGIA COAST..AND THE GFDL WHICH RECURVES BONNIE OUT TO SEA.

To add to my misery, other people along the East Coast were beginning to wake up to the possibility of Bonnie coming to visit.  And just as I had done, they glued themselves to the computer to get the latest information.  Unfortunately, the National Hurricane Center had apparantly not anticipated how popular its site would be.

NOTE..THE NHC INTERNET SITE IS BEING OVERLOADED..FORCING OCCASIONAL SHUTDOWNS.

Great!  Now I was blind as well as dumb!  But then, by Tuesday morning, the situation suddenly changed.  Bonnie started to move and take a more predictable path.  And not only a more definite path, but one straight at Truelove.  My prospects were quickly beginning to look very bad.  As you read the following advisory, keep in mind that Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks are just fifty miles give-or-take from Sea Gate Marina and “further south” means Beaufort.

HURRICANE BONNIE ADVISORY NUMBER 23  5 AM EDT TUE AUG 25 1998  AT 5 AM EDT THE CENTER OF HURRICANE BONNIE WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.1 NORTH..LONGITUDE 74.0 WEST OR ABOUT 500 MILES SOUTH OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA.  BONNIE IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TODAY WITH SOME INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED.  THE FORECAST TRACK BRINGS THE CENTER NEAR THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND BRINGS TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS TO THE COAST ON WEDNESDAY MORING.  IF THE HURRICANE SHOULD MOVE TO THE LEFT OF THE FORECAST TRACK..HURRICANE WARNINGS WILL BE NEEDED FURTHER SOUTH IN THE WATCH AREA.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 115 MPH WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  SOME FLUCTUATIONS MAY OCCUR BUT BONNIE IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A POWERFUL HURRICANE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.  BONNIE IS A LARGE HURRICANE.  HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 145 MILES FROM THE CENTER AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 190 MILES.  STORM SURGE FLOODING IS EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE HURRICANE REACHES THE COAST..WITH WATER LEVELS INCREASEING UP TO 9 TO 11 FEET ABOVE NORMAL ASTRONOMICAL TIDAL LEVELS.

Within the next three hours, Bonnie increased her forward speed to eleven knots and decreased her distance from Cape Hatteras.  By 11:00 a.m. EDT, the forward speed had increased again to sixteen knots and the distance was reported to be down to 340 miles.  As the 11:00 a.m. advisory stated:

THE FORECAST TRACK BRINGS THE CENTER NEAR THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA LATE WEDNESDAY MORNING.  TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE LIKELY TO ARRIVE AT THE COAST OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND NORTH CAROLINA NEAR MIDNIGHT AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS NEAR DAWN WEDNESDAY.

Damn!!  Bonnie’s earlier indecision had lulled me into indecisiveness myself.  Then, when the situation changed suddenly from a lollygaging possible threat to a focused menace, I was caught “out of position.”  Even if I left Bowling Green immediately, could I get to Truelove in time to protect her?

I called my sister, Laura, and her husband, Bill, in Cary, North Carolina.  They told me that if Bonnie hit Beaufort as predicted, the authorities would shut down the area and force people to evacuate.  And even if I could get past the authorities, there would be trees and utility poles all across the roads.  In other words, I might get within a hundred miles of Sea Gate, but I would probably have a hard time getting to Truelove.

Nevertheless, I had to try.  I loaded every thing I could think of into my four-wheel-drive Suburban, chainsaw, crowbar, tow chains, emergency lights, jugs of water, emergency rations.  By Tuesday afternoon I was on my way.  Thirteen hours of overnight driving lay ahead.  Thirteen hours of agonizing about what I would face when I got there.

Just before dawn I was getting close.  At Havelock, North Carolina I turned off of Highway 70 onto the secondary road that leads to Sea Gate.  Just about fifteen miles to go.  As I topped the hill right at the entrance to the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, there they were – enough red and blue flashing lights to give a rescue squad groupee an organism.  No, no, no!!!  I can’t get this close and be blocked from getting to Truelove.  She needs me.  What can I tell these people to convince them to let me through?  A sick friend?  Get ready, Lee.  Twenty-seven years of professional BS-ing has prepared you for this one moment in time.  You must get through!

Lee Huddleston
s/v Truelove
lying Sea Gate Marina
Core Creek, North Carolina

Hurricane Irene and the Truelove by Lee Huddleston

Gary,

Would you let the Club Members know just for their information that Hurricane Irene is about to hit s/v Truelove, my 45-foot, steel-hulled, center-cockpit, cutter-ketch which is on the hard just north of Beaufort, North Carolina.  The center of the hurricane is expected to be at 34.4 deg N. / 76.66 deg W. in about 24 hours.  Cape Lookout, which is a few miles south and east of Truelove is at 34.62 deg N. / 76.525 deg W.  This will be the twelfth time Truelove has been hit by a hurricane.  Three of those times I was on board, twice at a dock and once anchored out off of the Pamlico Sound.  Truelove will probably be safe this time because she is out of the water.  Oddly enough, the most dangerous thing about hurricanes is usually the huge surge of water that they push up in front of them.  Water is so dense, almost nothing can withstand a mountainous wave.  Until the wind gets up to Category 3 or higher, the wind is not as dangerous.  For that reason, lots of people make arrangements with boatyards to pull their boats out of the water when a hurricane threatens.  A  lot of insurance companies will even pay for it.

For many years I wrote stories about sailing Truelove.  I have attached a couple that dealt with hurricanes. You are welcome to send them out as you       wish.  I just thought that with Irene in the news, some of the Members might find them interesting reading.

Lee

Epilogue: Lee said the Truelove made it through the storm okay.. I’m putting the stories up on here for your viewing pleasure

August Meeting Highlights

The meeting started as always with a salute to past commodores by Commodore Debbie Champion.  Herb Siewert, Lee Huddleston, Gary Reimer, Doug Roberts, the Kerstings and Barry Sanders were  all saluted.

The Glow Regatta and The Karl Millen Regattas were discussed, as was the upcoming Raingutter Regatta. The Raingutter Regatta is a cub scout event to be held at the Club on Saturday August 27th from 2-4pm for about 40 children who will sail model boats down a raingutter.

A new Regatta was proposed by Kevin Klarer and his brother Bill who became a new/old member this month. This Regatta will be held after the Great Minnow on Saturday October 15th. The Regatta will be called the “Rita Regatta” after Kevin and Bill’s mother. This will be a one day Regatta and is open to all. The Klarer boys have been racing a long time and this should be a welcome addition to the schedule.

Yardmaster Gary Reimer stated that the docks are once again attached to the dock arms. Gary also stated that he was told by the Corp. that they would hold water through October.

Commodore Champion stated that all should dock with the Bow facing in and that a large Fender buoy should be used attached to the dock to prevent damage to the dock. Forward breast lines can be used to hold the boat steady to the dock.

Purser Barry Sanders reports that the bills have been paid and that we are putting money aside to pay the upcoming $2000 insurance bill. Barry is looking for alternatives to our present insurance which has gone up by 20% despite us not filing any claims, if you know of anyone in the commercial insurance business please funnel this information to Barry.

We plan to have an executive board meeting to discuss finance in September.

Lee and Herb once again stated that the present pavilion is rustic and good and another pavilion is not needed and would result in vandalism etc.  We are seeking opinions on this issue, if you have one please contact one of the club officers. As the scribe, I would like to float an on-line survey of the members to see what the majority thinks about this.

The Knot of the month was the soft shackle, no one brought one of these to the meeting.

Lee Huddleston ties a Rolling Hitch

Lee Huddleston gave an excellent lesson on the uses of the rolling hitch and a good demonstration on the various ways to tie it.

We would also like to welcome Steve Mansfield

Steve Mansfield

to the club, if you see Steve around, please say hello, he’s the one sailing the Venture 21.

The Meeting was adjourned around 7:30pm.

Gary Guss – Scribe

Karl Millen Results – by Doug Roberts

Although the wind was light we managed to get in 4 races for the annual Karl Millen Regatta. The results are as follows: Cruisers: 1-Carol Kersting, 2-Gary Reimer Open Dinghies: 1-Kevin Klarer, 2-Dale Sturm, 3-Doug Roberts, 4-Emerald Harrington, 5-Don Novosel Sunfish Class: 1-Barry Sanders

Complete timing and scoring at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmHJiBQcMXCRdGpoZUdmMV9qSDBFMEdyY0JyNUpWRmc&hl=en_US#gid=0

The Glow Regatta Results

The Glow Regatta is in the books. Despite Mother Nature’s attempts to dampen our spirits, just after dinner the sky cleared and we went racing. It was a great night to be on the water. The results are as follows:
1- Gary Reimer (3 & 1),
2- Carol Kersting (2 & 2),
3- Lee Huddleston (1 & 6),
4- Kevin & Denise Klarer (4 & 3),
5- Greg Glass (5 & 5),
6- Debbie Champion (7 & 4),
7- Larry Caillouet (6 & 7)
Thanks to Gary and Linda Guss, and David Graff for the help on the committee boat. Thanks to all the racers and crew who came out for dinner the regatta.
Complete timing and scoring at https://spreadsheets.google.co​m/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmHJiBQ​cMXCRdEhsRWw0Q0xXZ1pSRlYwZlVZd​TdjZFE&hl=en_US

To Infinity and Beyond !

The first POYC Infinity Regatta is in the books (yes there was an end to it). It turned out to be a great day for sailing and racing. Thanks to all of those who showed for the racing, dinner and camaraderie. Thanks to Kevin Klarer for the help on the committee boat and the Champions for the meal.
The results are as follows.
Cruisers: 1-Gary Reimer, 2-Dale Allison, 3-Keith Sparks
Dinghies: 1-Doug Bebensee, 2-Dale Sturm, 3-Rob Wyatt, 4-Allen Graf, 5-Connie PolkDetailed scoring can be found at:https://spreadsheets.googl​e.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=​0AmHJiBQcMXCRdE5IUl8xQkl1T​i1aVUQ1MVdpZWFrQUE&hl=en_U​S