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Old 02-19-2011, 06:50 PM   #1
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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
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:06 PM   #2
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It's Murphy's Law!

Except doing the best to get local weather forecasts somehow we have at times to take the decision to leave our boats without our capable hands in attendance. It does help the boat tremendously though to have those rubber dampers attached to the docking lines.

In Gibraltar we recently had 46kts of winds howling through the "sheltered" marina, would not have liked to be out in the Straights!
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:41 PM   #3
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Sorry about your clothes but the boat is OK.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:42 AM   #4
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Yes, snubbers are a good thing. We have a brand called shockles as well as the traditional black rubber ones to use. We also take advantage of spring lines (these run parallel to the boat, the one attached to the aft section of the boat going forward and the one attached to the forward section going aft. Even w/o snubbers these lines are somewhat self-snubbing. While we were in the San Francisco Bay last summer we did see small tires tied into the lines between boat and dock to use as snubbers. It was quite effective--and free! I've seen that discussed in hurricane preparations elsewhere, too.

The winds aren't such a big deal as the wave action in this case. We've been in marinas (last summer) in the San Francisco Bay area (notably Brisbane Marina) with 40 knots blowing steady and 50 knot gusts and been at anchor there with similar winds. We hardly thought of it because the marina had a great seawall to protect it from any surge and actually the winds were coming down a hill off the land, not the sea OR the anchorages were tucked into a cove and more protected from surge and waves OR in a river which didn't have the kind of fetch that lets you get big surge either. Here, the issue is that this marina is like a sitting duck with NO seawall and no wave attenuation system right now. The situation is absolutely brutal when winds come from any direction with an East component. Luckily, the prevailing winds here are from the West and Northwest! The "brutal" being all the surge and wave action from the couple miles of fetch across the bay which makes for a rough ride w/o a seawall, etc.

Getting salt water on good clothes just well...it's a bummer. You can't just dry them off and put them away--they've got to be cleaned. When we're at anchor, we do a lot of clothes changing in the car or a convenient bathroom before rowing back out to the boat. Having the boat right there on the pier lulled me into a sense of security that wasn't "real" in terms of keeping my clothes free of saltwater. I just need to pay better attention to these things!
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
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."
Seems to me like the answer is simple - don't "dress-up" It will make both you and your boat neighbours happier!

Joking asside, thanks for sharing this with us. I am sure we all have similar tales to tell so it is god to know that we are not alone.

Aye // Stephen
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