Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Irma update

I know many are concerned about us, and in the interests of keeping everyone informed, here is the latest update.

Vector midway through prep. Turned around, with scoots and tender loaded.

Forecast models have alternately targeted and un-targeted Charleston for a direct strike. As of the 5pm EDT forecast today, the best-guess track has Irma making a first landfall in SE Florida, bringing it inland for a while and thus robbing it of some energy, before going back to sea around Cape Canaveral and then coming back ashore somewhere along the Georgia coast.

Even if the eye comes ashore as far south as Brunswick, we will still see Tropical Storm force winds here, and Category-1 winds if it lands as far north as Savannah. We are expediting our storm preparations.

The 153' "Focus" is planning to ride it out at the dock. Note the anchor deployed.

Yesterday we decked the tender and then turned the boat around. This morning we took a Lyft over to the Enterprise car rental in West Ashley and rented a car for a week. At just $145, this was a no-brainer. When we got back to the marina, we topped off he scooters and hoisted them on deck. All loose items are out of the tender and it is lashed down, and the stuffed bears from the scoots have found homes in the salon.

With our new rental car we drove out to Moncks Corner, scene of the infamous paintball incident, to look at the tailrace canal off the Cooper River, and Lake Moultrie. This morning the bridge tender called me to say both railroad bridges were now operational, and in the course of driving out to the canal we actually ran into him and had a nice chat about conditions there.

Where we would anchor. Pinopolis Lock and Dam in the background. Bluffs, trees, and the dam provide some wind break.

I spoke to some folks with local knowledge and learned the Savannah River is not really an option. And Thunderbolt Marine, where we first saw Vector, informed me that they did not have space or equipment to put us on the hard for the storm.

So we now have two options. Secure the boat to the dock as best we can, or else go 30 miles up the Cooper River and anchor. It will come down to the wind speed forecast. Up to the limit of Tropical Storm force, (63kt or less), we will likely remain tied to the dock, and remain on board. Through Category 1 hurricane conditions (64-82kt) we will head upriver and ride it out on the boat. We'll try to do that early enough to get a Lyft back to town to retrieve the rental car.

These pedestals on a 115' yacht sported bar stools with covers until today. This crew will also ride it out here at the dock.

For Category 2 conditions or above, we will say our goodbyes to Vector and evacuate inland with whatever we can carry. If that's well forecast before we leave the dock, that's where Vector will make her last stand without us. It is unlikely she will survive a Category 3 or beyond if the surge lifts the docks off the pilings (about a dozen feet above the high tide line).

The important thing here is that we have a car and an evacuation plan for ourselves and Angel the cat. We have a place to go. And we'll have the important things (passports, hard drives) with us. In the time that remains before arrival we will do what we can to prepare, up to and including removing the canvas we just paid good money to repair (the canvas will likely not survive the removal, but the frame may not survive if we don't).

This 112' steel research vessel, the Nikola, came in to ride out the storm here.


  1. Our thoughts are with you, and we know all to well the agony of trying to make the right decisions in these unpredictable situations.

  2. Thinking of all the peeps we know on the east coast - its not that long a list so doesn't take much time. I phoned Mike Lutestanski at noon - he was putting on storm shutters and more worried about spin off tornadoes than he was about the actual hurricane. Can't give you any advice and I'm not particularly religious so my prayers aren't likely useful (or sincere). So --- we're thinking of you. Good luck.

  3. Sounds like you've got it covered. Prepare for the parts you can control, and insure for the ones you can't. Good luck!

  4. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers for wisdom and a safe exit on the other side of this storm. And, thank you for sharing your decision-making process with your readers during a time fraught with multiple routes and options and possibilities. Very interesting stuff.

  5. I've been thinking about you and glad you posted.
    Good Luck...God be with you and Vector. BE SAFE!

  6. Glad to hear your plans. As of this morning it's not getting any better. Stay safe and you and Louise remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Best of luck.
    I'm betting Vector will suffice just fine.
    Be Safe!

  8. Thinking about you guys! Thanks for the update.

  9. Best of luck for your efforts to stay safe. I know you've done all you can to prepare. God Speed Steve & Carol


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