Have you all noted how frequently the winds comes up at all the wrong times? Forgetting about winds that arise when you're entering the anchorage, tight harbor or marina slip, there's also the winds that typically arise once you've left the boat for several hours ashore.
That's what happened yesterday. We left the boat in late morning with 10 knots of breeze and the National Weather Service predicting rising winds in the high teens and gusts to 25. Well, silly me, I didn't have my handheld vhf on as I ran errands about town and, even sillier, didn't use the internet access on my cel phone to keep track of the NWS weather statements for our area. So, when we exited a restaurant with friends at 8:00 pm, we were really surprised to see winds so strong we could hardly walk to the car! And, for the hecklers here, that had nothing to do with drinking
We drove anxiously back to the boat's location without too much worry since the she is tied alongside a courtesy dock rather than at anchor or tightly fit into a slip. The only problem with the location is that the marina's wave attenuation system was removed and the hold ups in contracts and permits meant the new one not installed yet. Every storm beats the poor boats docked there relentlessly. With the winds coming from the Southeast, the couple miles of fetch across a big bay (to the East) would be allowing waves and surge right into the marina and everything would be rocking and rolling. The winds were pushing the boat away from the dock rather than onto it. We arrived, added a couple of lines and changed a few things. It did take me a while to gage the timing so that I could stretch/leap across to the boat at the right moment of surge. I HATE those situations when the boat is 5 feet from the pier and you're freezing cold and shivering and wondering how you're going to get your leg to reach out a foot--much less the distance required by the situation!
Ah, once aboard, everything was fine other than the fact that my nice clean dress pants and dress coat were soaked in the heavy salt spray. Not just this time, but every time I put on something especially nice, I find my self kneeling on the deck securing something in a downpour thinking that I might as well not ever "dress up."
The weather stayed nasty until about 2 am. Late evening and night winds were steady around 30 knots and little spells at 40 knots with a couple spurious gusts higher.
After turning on the marine VHF radio, I quickly heard that a Gale Warning had been issued at 1pm (about an hour after we left the boat in the late morning) with the associated higher winds to last until the following morning 7 am. I don't know if my lesson learned is to not dress up--or to keep my portable radio tuned into channel 16