Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Add us to the ranks of Washingtonians who learned a new word last week.  For those who might have missed it [insert sarcastic face here; I don’t know how you could have missed it if you’re local; even my friend Krissie as far away as western Australia, read about it], we experienced a derecho windstorm – thunderstorms with near hurricane-force winds that came on us with little warning.  They didn’t last very long here, only about 10 minutes for the worst of it, but those 10 minutes left an amazing amount of destruction.  Five days later, there are still a lot of people without power, and my Facebook feed is filled with pictures of LARGE downed tree limbs – the scariest pix show those limbs crushing cars or buildings.

So what was it like to experience this storm on the boat?  Surprisingly, relatively easy.  We saw the line of storms approaching on weather radar and Dan went outside to adjust the docklines. The first strong gust heeled us hard to port, and despite the dockline adjustment, we touched the pilings on the downwind side of the slip with a loud creak.  The heel was no steeper than had we been sailing…except, hey! we’re tied up in a slip, sheltered in a marina, not at sea!   Ten minutes of creaking docklines and snapping canvas, and then it was over.  The water returned to calm and the boat was flat again, and our little world was quiet except for the sound of light rain.

The aftermath of the storm was relatively easy as well.  In general, life on the boat is a little more complicated than life on land, as we have to be ever-mindful of providing our own utilities, and power and water and space are all limited.  Now, though, the same strategies that work for us providing our own power and communications at sea or at anchor – “off the grid” – worked after the storm.  Much of the damage in town came from falling tree limbs.  We didn’t have that issue -- there are no trees out here to fall on boats.  Had power gone out, well, we’re used to making our own power, in our case from solar.  A friend commented that she was hanging out in the bathroom at Nordstrom’s to charge her cellphone; we power all our devices with car-type 12-volt chargers which ultimately get their power from our ship’s batteries and those in turn from the solar panels.  Annapolis’ water plant was running on backup generator power and asked people to conserve water for the first couple of days after the storm; we generally have 2-3 weeks supply of water in our tanks so again we were well set.  And was it just in my last post that I talked about how we keep cool?

Hoping most of you have recovered from the storm’s damage now, and thinking of those that are still working.
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