Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stormy thoughts

The time is 2300 and I'm on a kind of "pier watch." We are port bow into 25 knots of wind with gusts now passing 30. Between us and miles of open water fetch lies a single face pier; it isn't near enough to break the swell. We have eight lines set; two each off the port bow and stern, one port midships, one each starboard bow and stern, and a spring holding us off the face pier. There is also a stack of fenders along the starboard side at the piling, with a fourth flat fender hung on the piling itself. In spite of our precautions Kintala is lurching and banging against her lines. Twice already this evening we have gone out to check on things, reset chafe guards, and adjust the lines as the south winds blow the water out of the river. We have fallen more than two feet in just about as many hours. Depth under the keel now shows "0.0" but it doesn't feel like we are bouncing off the bottom just yet.

The boat upwind of us is mostly out of control. The bow sprit has already taken out the dock box bolted to the pier and wrecked the AC power station we shared. During my last trip outside I moved our power cord down the dock to the next station. Dock Master Mark has done what he could to lasso the thing, adding a second bow line and taking up the slack on the windward lines. If it manages to pull free Deb and I will be making a hurried exit and heading for the bath house for the rest of the night. After that I guess his insurance company will be talking to our insurance company.

The second boat upwind of us is also nearly out of control. For a while it had no windward stern line at all. I helped Mark get one rigged but that boat has already bashed the pier hard enough to shake it loose; it was moving about a foot every time the boat slammed into it. That boat is also pitching so hard that the bow pulpit is broken after slamming down on the wall pier. There will be at least one insurance call come later this week even if nothing else happens.

There are a lot of ways to get hurt out there tonight. The bow sprits and anchors bouncing up and down nearly 10 feet will break any bones not moved out of the way. Lines are bar tight when loaded; getting the timing wrong while trying to take up the slack during a bounce will easily cost a finger. The boat downwind of us slammed hard against its lines and rebounded against the walkway beween it and Kintala just as I was getting ready to step back onto our boat. I didn't step, I fell. Fortunately I fell onto the deck and not between the pier and our dancing - 25,000 punds - worth of boat. For just a moment though, falling though the dark and the rain, I was thinking this wasn't going to work out well.

As much as I like this town the transient dock in a hard south blow is not the place to be. We definatley did not get far enough south fast enough.

According to the prog charts an 898 (898!) mb low will be just north of us at 0100, about 2 hours from now. (I believe it, we just saw a 47 knot gust and, according to the radar, a tornado watch box is passing over us. Yehaw!) The worst should be over by early afternoon, but this is the worst weather, in the worst place, that we have yet seen on Kintala ... and its going to be a long night.

Postscript: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEWPORT HAS ISSUED A SPECIAL MARINE WARNING ... AT 1059 PS EST ... NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A THUNDERSTORM ... PRODUCING A WATERSPOUT 8 NM SOUTHEST OF THE MOUTH OF THE PAMLICO RIVER ... MOVING NORTH AT 50 KNOTS.

4 comments:

Sabrina and Tom said...

Hope the light of day has brought better weather.

Sabrina
Sv Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC

Latitude 43 said...

Yikes! Careful messing with those boats. Are the owners on board?

tom sousa said...

Hopeflly the weather will settle down soon.

Deb said...

@Sabrina - it's settled down today to 25-30 but still gray and rainy. It was quiet enough to check out the damage on the other boats. I was laughing about your gimbaled stove pic because we were like that on the dock!

@Paul - all of these owners tied up their boats and took off for family gatherings for a few days. We were out there helping the dockmaster try to tie them up better. He was trying to do it himself and he was going to get hurt.

@Tom - Hey congrats on your boat and your new blog! There's so few T42s that it's great to see some of them being lovingly restored.