Ron and I have been closely watching the storm named Irene. This is one of the downsides to having a southern boat: worrying about hurricanes hitting the area and damaging or destroying a lifestyle you’ve come to love.
We’ve experienced one hurricane, Gloria, while living in Newport, Rhode Island in 1985. Gloria was a category two hurricane and we rode her out in our second floor apartment just a block up from the harbor. We stayed safe, but it was a very long day of very scary wind that rattled the entire house and took down the chimney on the house next door to us.
One of the worst things about a hurricane is trying to prepare. You can stock up on food and water, make sure you have batteries and candles, and maybe a generator. But if you own a boat, do you have her pulled out of the water, secure her with lots of extra lines, or take off for a “hurricane hole” to anchor her and hope for the best? We had Ron’s S2 7.9 that summer in Newport, and we let her ride out Hurricane Gloria on her mooring. We were fortunate that the mooring we were renting was in a more protected area of the harbor with few boats to break loose and drag down on her. Boats breaking loose and taking other boats with them probably caused the most damage in Newport Harbor.
For the past few years, we spent many a spring break week on the Gulf with my parents who escape the winter months, first in Pensacola Beach and now in the Gulf Shores area. We saw what Ivan and Rita did to that area; we saw Biloxi after Katrina. It’s taking years for these areas to recover.
As we watch the track of Irene, we think of all the folks who are dealing with the stress of trying to prepare for what may be a very bad storm. We have friends living on boats in Irene’s track, and it is very worrisome. Above anything else, we want them to stay safe. This is such a stressful time for all of them. Our thoughts will be with all those dealing with this storm over this coming weekend.