A Good Hurricane

…Is one that doesn’t break anything, doesn’t kill anyone, and doesn’t drag our anchor. Isaias, for us, was one such hurricane. We perceived the danger early enough in the weather system to get to a secure gunkhole and prepare, so we did. Onset Harbor has the odd and wonderful characteristics of being both spacious and protected. The east side of Wickets Island is less than half-full of moorings, with a mud bottom that is fairly flat. The perfect place to put out aaaallllll the chain and still have lots of room in case anything goes wrong. Isaias had his start, like most pissed-off summertime low pressure systems, by dragging his ass up the Gulf Stream and putting some serious hurt on Cape Fear, of course! Have you ever seen the statistics on documented hurricanes hitting the continental United States? That’s where most of those pissed off motherfuckers go to party: Cape Hatteras or Cape Fear and more specifically, Southport, North Carolina. That’s where Isaias hit the dirt trail and got addicted to mud. That asshole and his tornado buddies left a trail of flooding and mobile-home carnage eighty miles wide all the way up the coasts of Virginia, Chesapeake Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and the Jersey Shore before spinning off inland for a date with a Canadian mud slide. What we got was the outskirts of town, the suburbs of annihilation, the infuriated, rag-tag remnants of the johnny-come-lately dregs of mass destruction otherwise known as T.S. Isaias. The cell in the bottom right-hand corner of that image above hit us full-on, and it started like this! The four other boats in the anchorage were all very well behaved (meaning far from us and each other) with the single exception of a local pro fisher. He actually tried, and failed, to singlehandly[…]

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Our Lovebot!

S/V S.N. Cetacea used to have a pretty severe steering problem. The Monitor windvane, a self-steering system that uses wind angles and water pressure to turn the wheel and keep the boat sailing properly, was installed quite a long time ago. It’s the older style with a bronze gear, so we know it’s from the 1980’s. At some point later in this boat’s long glorious life, someone decided to replace the Monitor with dinghy davits. That decision is baffling to me (Dena), regardless of whether the sailor was gunkholing or cruising long distances. I treasure the freedom to move around the boat and fuss with the sail trim that the Monitor gives me…not to mention the time for reverie! Regardless, the Monitor somehow tagged along through several owners as an “it also comes with”. We were the first to salivate over that detail, I guess, since it was bagged, in as many pieces as it can be broken down into, with spares and a rebuild kit. This would have been no big thing except they put the boat’s only solar panels on the dinghy davits. It was easy enough for us to reinstall the Monitor…they hadn’t even removed the through-bolted mounts! But we couldn’t use it until we could uncover it and we couldn’t uncover it until we moved the solar panels. Removing them was no big thing…ha! They had bolted solid wood to the solar panel frames, split PVC pipe and forced it onto the stainless bar of the davit, and then screwed the shit out of a bunch of pipe hangars. Both plastic and galvie were represented, with no discernable pattern, and only two or three of the screw heads hadn’t been stripped. And then we found the real problem. I (Dena) had the fancy idea that we’d[…]

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