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Hurricane Danny 1997

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E- Mail           Copy Write 10/27/1997 ©   Updated  2/13/2006            E- Mail

King Neptune Art

I never appreciated the power of a hurricane until "Danny"; it was only a class 1 storm just barely more than a tropical storm. But, it was my baptism into boats and storm management. Hurricane Danny Satelight Photo   Initially "just" a tropical storm Danny bloomed into a class 1 storm overnight, and decided Alabama or Florida panhandle was a good place to stop for a vacation. My primary concern was getting our house ready and supplies laid in before the stores sold out. About 1 PM I headed out to Grand Lagoon Yacht Club where the boat was slipped. The club is a good one right in the ICW just across a barrier island.

By the time I got there most all the power boats where gone (except for a few out of state owners). The storm was far off, yet the waves kicking up enough that I didn't believe I could safely motor to the boat ramp.

Lesson 1: Do your storm proofing before the waves pick up. There was no way to get my motor off the mount safely. The boat is moving too much in the slip. Other than that everything else seems to go smooth.

Friday is hurricane day and we stay close to home, some friends are hanging with us. Their home is on a peninsula and they needed someplace safer to stay.

Saturday is still storm day. Hurricane Danny has decided to spend some serious time in Mobile Bay (Alabama) about 50 miles away. Feeling stir crazy and a bit anxious about my boat I head out to the club. What a sight the ICW is really nasty waves slopping up through the slots in the dock. Many boats laid to anchor in the ICW some already had their roller furled jibs shredded. Once out on the dock I see my baby setting as well as can be expected. In the seaward slip a big 25'+ powerboat was bucking like a wild bronco. If that boat broke loose that would be the end of mine. Hurricane Danny Damage Photo Hurricane Danny Damage Photo All day Saturday Danny spent time churning in Mobile Bay and every two to three hours I would head out to check the boat. Nearest I can figure sometime around 2 PM the forestay couldn't take the pounding and snapped at the masthead. No way to do anything about it until things calm.

I wasn't the only one out at the club several other club members where in and out to check on the facilities. A fellow sailor was out there it seems the whole time. He had taken delivery of a new 30' sloop recently. Sunday I grab a bucket of tools and head out. Danny has decided to head inland. Things have calmed some. The mast fell on the starboard side damaging the cabin top, the mounting pedestal for the mast and the lifeline. Eventually getting the mast disconnected hauled back aboard and tied down. The cabin is a mess mostly water. What was amazing, the motor, it was still on the mount, upon closer inspection one of the two bolts that hold the mount together had sheared. Once cleaned the boat sits for a week or two before I am able to get it pulled and taken to the repair shop.

Lesson 2: In a rough situation getting from the dock to the boat is easy. From the boat back much more difficult. The waves Sunday where still a bit less than ideal, the boat was not tied real close to the finger pier. I almost made it. Hit pretty hard half on half off. The bruises lasted for a while.

Lesson 3 I don't want to go through this again. In the future I will bring the boat home for the worst of hurricane season. It gets so hot July - September I won't spend much time on the boat, why bother.


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