Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wind, Flying Dinghies and Cruiser's Pitching In

The Flying Dinghy Back Upright

Last night we were expecting some thunderstorms and a bit of wind. We didn't expect 60 mph winds tearing the little town of Carrabelle up. The evening started with a lovely get together on Tranquilo II (Julia and Robbie) with Docktari (Bob) until the rain began getting serious. Back aboard Wrinkles we monitored the dock lines, put out additional fenders and tightened up the dinghy restraints. About 11:30 p.m. the winds suddenly escalated from strong to holy crap! We went outside immediately after the worst of the blast had gone through and began gathering up loose items blown off all the boats. Fenders, kayaks, life jackets, garbage, oars, dinghy pump............ Yup, a real mess.

The captain of the 56' Carver parked in the slip next to us was outside trying to figure out what had banged loudly along his boat. It turns out an 11’ dinghy with a 15 h.p. outboard attached had been ripped off the top of the 44 foot Carver two boats over. The wind had broken one of the 1" wide nylon ratchet straps and sent the dinghy flying over and against the two big Carvers. It ended up upside down in the water between the two boats with the outboard still attached.

Dinghy rescue crew.

The weather settled down some and people finally went to bed around 1 a.m. By 4 a.m. several of us were out rounding up debri and boat gear. The sun came out and the wind was completely gone providing us with a beautiful February day. Reports of 60 mph winds causing trees to be uprooted and buildings to be severely damaged were heard. Amazingly enough the two Carvers came out of the mess with just one scuff on a hull which was later buffed out. How can a 75 lb motor attached to a 115 lb dinghy fly over and against two yachts without doing some serious damage? One of the Carvers also lost a section of Isinglass. Wrinkles lost one cockpit cushion as well. All things considered we all fared very well.

Brenda doing canvas repairs.

A few of us rescued the inverted dinghy and spent the morning getting the outboard emptied of water and back in running condition. Others hunted for lost gear and helped calm a few frayed nerves. Brenda got out her sewing machine and did some canvas repairs for another boat, another sailor was helping get some stubborn inboards started for another boat. It was so neat to see people doing whatever they could to make life better for each other.

There are several boats sitting here waiting for this never ending weather pattern to break so we can cross the Gulf of Mexico in mild conditions. It looks like maybe Saturday or Sunday we may finally get that chance.


1 comment:

  1. That was some wind, eh? We saw it coming before dark so checked everything on Tranquility. When we bought her there was much laughter about the huge dock lines (1.5" double braided) but it was nice to know they were there when all your stuff is clinging to three dock lines attached to pilings and cleats. All the downwind stuff was slack. St. Andrew's faired a bit better than you all. We only saw 40knot winds (well, I didn't turn the instrument on until the worst of it was over)and didn't lose anything. So glad you all made it okay too! We'll be thinking about you when you make your jump across the Gulf!