Ok, so this one is more than a little late going up, but I am finally getting around to posting the pictures from when Hurricane Irene came through.

In hindsight I was grossly over prepared for Irene as it was downgraded to a tropical storm before it it us, but when I started making my plans it was still a category 3, and there was talk that it might reach category 4 before it slammed into Long Island, Even though it is insured, I really did not want to lose my boat to the storm, so I took all the precautions I could.

My slip is at a floating dock on the pseudo end slip with pilings at 3 corners, and not just any pilings, two opposite corners are 5 piling bundles of regular pilings that secure the outer ends of the dock.   Since I know that large numbers of boats that get sunk in a hurricane are the ones at the docks, I wanted to protect myself from the dock as much as possible.  This posed a unique challenge to tie up safely at as I don’t have a 4th corner to tie up to to keep from getting blown into the dock if there is a south easterly wind. I decided to put out two anchors somewhat bohemian style to take the place of the th piling to hold me off the dock.  Since this would put the anchors out across the harbor channel I had to wait until the Hurricane Barrier was closed and thus the channel closed to traffic. 

After removing all canvas off the boat and securing the boom, I prepared by rigging 3/8″ chain around the pilings, and securing that with shackles connected to brand new lengths of 1/2″ nylon 3 braid. I did this to each of the 3 corners of pilings around the slip.  These “piling lines ” were tied to the cleats as the primary attachment on these 3 corners. I then took the regular dock lines and tied them over the new piling lines and secured them to the cleats on the dock.

Then after the barrier was closed I ran 2 anchors out in the dinghy across the channel to provide as much scope as I could (roughly 12:1 at the predicted high tide mark). I tightened the first anchor line using the starboard jib sheet winch until the line was tight enough to strum a note on, then eased it and secured it to the stern cleat, and then tightened the second anchor line until it could also be strummed to play a note, then easing it a bit and  leaving it on the jib sheet winch locked in the self tailor.

Below is an illustration of where the lines were secured. Red and Green are the two anchors, Yellow are the “piling lines” and pink are the dock lines. 

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 This worked quite well keeping the boat a safe distance from the pier, about 6-7 feet away. To be extra safe I left the fenders out and even used this as an excuse to replace the lines holding them. If any storm was going to come through and bash my hull into the pier, it was not going to be the result of lackluster effort on my part to protect the boat.

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Following all of this I taped over the hatches and the companionway slats to prevent the driving rain and wind from having any direct path in, and reducing the likelihood of a leak. I started with Gorilla tape per the recommendation of a few people, but had to finish with Blue Painters Tape since my buddy Dan dropped the roll in the water while borrowing it to tape over some leaks in his boat. In retrospect I wish he had dropped it in the water sooner as the Gorilla tape did not come off cleanly and took 3 days of cleanup. The painters tape stayed put through the storm, didn’t leak, and pulled off in minutes with absolutely no residue.

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Most of these efforts were unnecessary since the storm started dieing out in the hours before making landfall here, but during the prep time we had no way of knowing that was going to happen so it would have been very foolish to not plan for the worst.  The Stamford Hurricane Barrier did it’s job as advertised and held the 5 foot storm surge completely at bay. My boat saw no higher water level than any other high tide.

Peak Storm Surge:

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6 foot difference:

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