ANCHORING IN A HURRICANE

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Things To Consider When Preparing to Anchor In A Hurricane

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Safety

Don’t risk your life or the life of your crew.

The most important thing to consider is your crew and your safety.  It is important to consider the storms potential and make a very prudent decision as to whether it is worth remaining onboard. Remember that once the storm hits it will be almost impossible to safely leave the boat. If you do decide to remain onboard take all necessary safety precautions.

 

Preparation

If you know that there is a storm in existence and there is a chance that it could hit or affect your area, do not delay. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Unexpected issues almost always arise arise, so it’s always best to have more than enough time to prepare.

 

Location

Be sure that you have a well thought out location. During a hurricane, wind can switch around and blow from all directions at times. Consider the following:

 

  • Nearby Boats/Debris /Docks/Trees - If the wind blows 150mph, is there anything nearby that could drift or blow onto your vessel.

 

  • Nearby Shoreline – If your boat breaks away from it’s anchor, where will it drift to? Expansive marsh is almost always better then a steep shoreline or a rocky one

 

Windage

Picture yourself driving down the highway at 150 mph and putting your hand out of the window. Every square inch of anything that can catch the wind, will act as a sail when wind speeds are high. Be sure to remove any canvas, sails, bimini frames, and anything on deck that could catch the wind.  Secure running rigging tightly to the mast.

Anchor Rode

It is estimated that an average 40ft sailboat will create at least a 20,000lb load on an anchor line/chain when the wind blows over 130mph. That’s at least 10 tons, so keep in mind the following things:

 

  • Chain/Line Strength – Be sure to make sure that your anchor rode can support the maximum load. Here are a few strengths for reference (Please note different brands have different strengths):

 

  • 3-Strand Nylon Line Breaking Strength

    • 1/2 Inch – 5,000 lbs

    • 5/8 Inch – 8,000 lbs

    • 3/4 Inch – 10,500 lbs

 

  • Anchor Chain Breaking Strength

    • Type 3 – 3/8 Inch – 10,000 lbs

    • Type 8 – 3/8 Inch – 29,200 lbs

 

Keep in mind that when the wind gusts at high speeds, the strain is not a static one, but there will be a swinging/shock loading effect that will increase pressure on the rode.

The Anchor(s)

In a 130 Mph wind, on a 40 ft sailboat, a standard harbor anchor will be insufficient. It is worth investing in a collapsible storm anchor. Even a 150 lb storm anchor is not guaranteed to hold in hurricane winds. The more anchors available, the better. Many boaters secure 2 adjustable rodes to the vessel, and attach 2 anchors to each line or chain. (1st at the end of the rode, and the 2nd 50 ft inwards) These are usually configured in a V shape coming outwards from the bow.

Securing The Rode to The Boat

It is important to asses where to attach the anchor line. Surprisingly, the weaker points on the boat are usually the cleats and the windlass. It is important to check, but usually the strongest hardware on the boat will be the winches.

Chafe Gear

When a line or chain has even10,000 lbs of load on it, it will undergo severe damage if chafe gear is not properly secured. Many people use heavy reinforced plastic hose around the lines.

Tracking Device

If a boat breaks free from it’s anchor during a storm, it can be pushed for miles. If this happens, you could spend weeks looking for it. SPOT sells an affordable satellite-tracking device that will ping its location every few minutes.

Other Things To Consider

  • Check your scuppers

  • Check Bilge Pumps

  • Charge Batteries

  • Check your insurance coverage

  • Close through hulls

  • Close engine exhaust

  • Put out all fenders

  • Check nearby boat’s lines

  • Pull dingy ashore

  • Close all hatches securely

  • Remove any valuables

  • Close LPG Tanks

  • Close all vents

  • Secure items that are kept below

  • Remove swim ladder

  • Double Check the Through Hulls/Head/Sink/Vents.

 

 

Please note that the information above is a list of things to consider and should not affect any agreed hurricane plans. Be sure follow your approved hurricane plan

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