Pulling the Boat... Not yet... Not at all

FRIDAY ------

5:00 pm - "Tropical Storm this! "

4:30 pm -  Undoubtedly, karmically, it's a bad idea to disrespect a hurricane - even one that ISN'T going to hit you.  So I'll stuff my wizenheimer thoughts and words in my pockets for now and not say what I'm trying not to feel until after Earl passes - like a guy who makes a rude gesture at another driver after the car has passed and is too far in front to notice.

What I've noticed around the Cape though is that people have been excited about this storm and really wanted to experience the awesome force of an honest to goodness hurricane. People are now both relieved and disappointed that Earl has shifted east.

8am - With Earl shifting east it's now an easy call to stay put.


6 pm -  Boat is now on a 300 lb mooring in Meeting House Pond with three bow lines attached to the mooring.  I'm thinking this won't be much worse than a typical nor'easter.

11 am - Running for cover for sure. The 11am forecast shows a direct hit.

8 am - My boat is moored in Little Pleasant Bay. Well protected to the north and west, decently protected to the south, it's wide open to weather coming in from the southeast - that will be the direction of Earl's most powerful winds. The mooring itself is 200 lbs and has anchor chain appropriate for a destroyer. I'm confident the mooring isn't going to move, regardless of how hard the wind blows. 

 However... 100+ mph wind could see the boat flying like a kite and that could strain things just a tad. I've already taken off the sails, boom and dodger. But those things can be put back on pretty easily. If I take down the mast or move the boat ashore that's it for the season.

Today's decision is a tough one. I'd like to keep the boat in the water until November - there will be many nice days for sailing between now and then.

 Let's see what the late morning Hurricane Center forecast shows.


Laura Dekker

This weekend's news will likely feature stories about a young female sailor named Laura Dekker. Laura is 14 years old and she's just left Portugal on a solo voyage around the world.   Dekker is now crossing the Atlantic at the height of hurricane season, directly in the path that most hurricanes take.  Before debating the sanity of letting a 14 year old girl circumnavigate or stop in various seedy ports of call, let's establish as a baseline that it's beyond stupid for anyone of any age to sail the course she's on at this time of year in a small boat.  The Wikipedia entry says she's planning to avoid hurricane seasons. That may be true later in her voyage but it's not true at the outset.  Look at this animated graph from Stormsurf.com - you'll see a nice sized hurricane develop in the mid Atlantic, just east of the Caribbean later next week.

 I sincerely hope she makes across safely.


Head High Surf Off Craigville??? And clean???

"Nantucket Sound beaches never get surf because it's too shallow and they're protected by Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard." I wrote those words for the surfing exhibit at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum. It looks like I'll have to eat them. The current forecast for Hurricane Earl shows waves in the head high range hitting Cape Cod's Nantucket Sound beaches from Hardings Beach in Chatham to South Cape in Mashpee from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning - on Friday the wind will be offshore from the NE at 28mph  (relative to the Cape's Nantucket Sound beaches) , then shifting to W at 15 on Saturday.  When the wind shifts and drops the waves might even be clean. Aided by a big storm surge and around times of high tide ( 7-8 pm & am ) Friday evening and Saturday morning, the odds of head high waves are actually pretty good.

Harbors and marinas on the Cape's south coast are in for a rough time. The one bit of good news is that the forecast normal high tide, absent storm surge, is relatively small at around 9', more than 3' below the 12.5' tides that take place later next week - this may mitigate damage to docks, boats and other harbor and marina facilities.

The forecast shows Earl passing Cape Cod's Atlantic beaches on Saturday morning.  With the swell out of the south surf on Atlantic beaches will be in the head to 1.5X head high range.


Sunday Waves

10:30 am - Summary of 2 hr am session - mostly waist high, 2 hr wait for one head high set, good shape. Nose factor 1 (minor drip action when bending over to pick something up).  Afternoon should be better.

Hurricane Swell

We're about to get a nice stretch of hurricane swell starting on Saturday afternoon and probably continuing through all of next week. We're likely to see waves starting at waist+ on Saturday reach head+ on Monday and continuing in the waist-chest-head+ range through the following Sunday.

The swell comes courtesy of Hurricane Danielle, forecast to pass by Bermuda on Sunday afternoon and move up into the North Atlantic off Newfoundland by Tuesday. Danielle is being followed by what is likely to be another hurricane that seems set to follow the same path. Next Wednesday (Sept. 1),  as Danielle heads off toward Greenland, yet-to-develop-unnamed-hurricane 2 should be nearing Bermuda. All that means to us is that we get nice long period swell without suffering the wind that creates it.

Note to beginner surfers - Waist high waves from a  distant hurricane (ground swell) are much more powerful than waist high waves from a local nor'easter. The difference is in the wave "period."  The period is forecast to be 8 seconds for this coming Thursday and 13 seconds on Sunday.  The period describes a wave's thickness, its mass, its meatiness. In football terms it's the difference between the beefy guys on the front line and the skinny guys on the ends.   A waist high hurricane swell will hit you with as much force as a head high wave generated by a n0r'easter.

Nauset Light Victory @ Sea