Mel's Note Card Holder  
Tom and Mel... achievable cruising under sail and power.


Hurricane Isabel
by Tom Neale

    Chez Nous survived Hurricane Isabel, even though she, and we, were in the thick of it. We weren't able to ride it out as we usually do big storms-in the water in a good hole. As it turned out, we were up on the hard for scheduled work when the storm came rolling in, and there wasn't time to get Chez Nous back in the water with all the other yard commitments, and ours, in time for us to get her to a safe place. We had no damage because that particular little corner of the world apparently didn't get as much high wind or water as other areas, and because the yard (Zimmerman Marine) did an excellent job in preparing all the boats and the entire yard. Mel and I also spent over two days getting Chez Nous ready.

    I've always disagreed, as a general proposition, with the concept that hauling a boat and putting her on jack stands is the best way to ride out a hurricane. Driving around after the storm, and looking at damage pictures of boats on the hard all over the affected area, has convinced me even more that sitting on the hard isn't necessarily the best thing to do, given the right circumstances. The insurance industry seems to feel that it is, and they say that they have good reasons for taking this position, given overall statistics. But we don't all fit into those overall statistics. I'm also going to tell you what to do if you are in a situation in which your boat must ride out the storm on the hard.

    There's a silver lining, as always. We spent the night of the storm in a small house in the Northern Neck of Virginia. The winds were stronger and more damaging than those closer to the eye because of certain weather characteristics that we'll also discuss in the next issue. Power, phones, water, gasoline, refrigeration, and most other amenities were gone by the first few hours of wind on Thursday. Some areas don't have these now, over two weeks later. As soon as we got our boat back in the water, we had all of these. Once again, we were reminded that you don't need the "infrastructure" when you've got a cruising boat. You have your own. In upcoming issues we're going to tell you how to be sure that yours works for you.

Previous Tips from Tom