Thursday, October 6, 2016

Riding the storm out

Storm-ready Whispering Jesse
Approaching stripped-down Whispering Jesse from
the CGSC launch this morning, with storm clouds
building in the background. That's Cosmo on the bow.
I am writing this from inside the snug cabin of Whispering Jesse, moored at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Outside, it is gusty and rainy, as the eye of Hurricane Matthew passes Miami, about 150 miles off the coast. By late tonight or early tomorrow morning, the Category 4 storm will have made landfall to the north, somewhere between West Palm Beach and Melbourne, where there is likely to be widespread devastation and loss of life.

Nan and I monitored the storm closely starting last week when it made its turn to the north. By Tuesday, it was apparent that Miami would be affected and that I would need to go prepare our boat for the worst. I was on the first flight out yesterday and arrived with enough daylight to take down the jib, staysail, dodger and bimini, with the generous help of my friend Brian, who was with us on the Bimini trip back in April. We also rigged a backup mooring line, in the event that the primary line were to chafe through, and used bungee cords to secure all the running rigging at the mast. We left the mainsail in place, zipped inside its heavy-duty Cradle Cover. No amount of wind would affect it.

At the Club's bar last night, there were offers of a place to stay for tonight, but I am going to ride out the storm here on the boat. It will be a little warm with all the hatches closed against the rain, but I'm not expecting much in the way of high winds or wave action at this point, so I should be fine. I wish I could say the same for the people up the coast.