The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Storm Stephanie

The weather has gone mad around here! It's getting so bad they're even naming storms now.

We've had 3 storms in about 3 weeks. As I type at this moment, it's blowing like the devil and raining like hell. And to add injury to misery, my Rutland 913 wind generator spun itself into a seizure. The bearing, which I replaced last year, is now toast.

Marina storm preparations
One good day in this whole mess allowed me to add extra dock lines and a new red fender.
I went to the marina on Saturday to prepare for the storm Stephanie - which promised to hammer us with 55-knot winds and 10-meter waves. Part of the marina is already mangled and distorted; the other part is rattling like a bad case of osteoporosis. Who said owning a boat is all fun and play? I'm beginning to think that it's a masochist's hobby.

As I was putting the final touches to snugging up the lines and adding some new ones, Luis motored by in his sailboat exiting the marina.

"Where you going?"

"To the transient dock," he shouted back.

So I ran over to the transient pontoon to help him dock on the side away from the breakwater.

"I'm not risking it this time," he said. "Why don't you move yours over?"

I didn't because I was already tied down solid. Besides my boat is at the end farthest from the breakwater.

Later, I was watching the 8 pm news at home in which some navy weather expert was interviewed saying that Storm Stephanie would cause waves up to 10 meters but, he pointed out, extra precaution should be taken because the extremely strong winds and unstable sea conditions could create isolated waves up to 17 meters high. Those were his words, "17 meters" ON SUNDAY NIGHT!!!! I think I stopped breathing.

The next morning, Sunday, it was still dark when I arrived at the marina to move the boat over to the guest pontoon. I waited until daylight, fiddled around and then the wind suddenly kicked in. Instead of letting the lines loose and getting the hell out of there, I sat around hoping it was just a gust that would die down. Instead, the wind slowly picked up until there was no choice but to sit tight.

Funny thing, out on the water I'm a mad salt dog, but I dread maneuvering in a marina in windy conditions. Got no problem dropping or picking up anchor in a middle of a blow. Maybe that's the real reason I like anchoring so much for my minimalist boating ideals.

Anyway, on Sunday night gusts reached 130 km per hour, but the waves wimped out and barely exceeded 7 meters. Now I can start breathing again.


  1. Inhale...exhale... inhale... breathe, Horacio, breeeeathe!
    Yup, boats are a masochist's hobby. I keep playing with the idea of leaving my boat in the water to sailing during some beautiful winter days (dude, we got 18C/sunny/10knts today!), but when it's nasty as it is in your for-mentioned post, I sooooo glad I'm on the hard!
    Courage, my friend.

    1. 18º and sunny, not bad at all.
      I don't take Jakatar out of the water in winter because then I'd be paying for the marina and yard fees. Besides, the nearest yard is in Nazaré and that's nearly a hour's drive.
      I'm a masochist, but I don't mind.