In this series of videos, you’ll discover what hurricane prep we instigated while preparing for one of the largest hurricanes to hit North America. You’ll also gain an insight as to what it was like wondering if our boat survived, finding out that she had dragged, why she dragged, and what transpired after the storm went through.
Our hurricane prep was for Irma and at the time the hurricane was forecast to make a direct hit in Charleston, South Carolina.
Knowing that Britican’s survival would be better out of the marina and as inland (up a river) as possible, we moved her as far as we could.
Once she was prepared and anchored, my family left our home and headed northwest to my brother’s house to sit out the storm.
Hurricane Prep – Preparing & Moving Our Sailboat
Below is a quick five-minute update on the aftermath of the Irma.
This is where we wondered if our hurricane prep made a difference. In the video, you’ll see that we are all fine but we’re still uncertain as to how Britican is. The day we made this video we later drove back to Charleston, South Carolina. Our hope was that we’d find her in the same state we left her (and in the same place) but that wasn’t the case.
Hurricane Prep – Time To Find Out If Our Boat Survived!
By the time that hurricane Irma hit Charleston she was downgraded to a Topical Storm so we got lucky. Very lucky. Britican survived!
Unfortunately, so many other boaters, boats, and people did not have such a positive outcome.
It’s difficult to worry about your own situation and then see other people’s situations go from bad to worse. And all the while being confined to a house waiting and watching news updates. My father and step-mother were stuck in an area where the eye went right over the top of them. It was so painful to hear their fear and not be able to do anything to help them. I’m happy to report that they’re both okay and their home suffered minimal damage.
Hopeless and helpless is how we felt. Did we do enough hurricane prep?
When the hurricane hit we had hundreds of emails, FB and YouTube comments asking how Britican got on. To our horror, we learned that she dragged about 150 yards from the middle of the river to the edge of the reeds. We thought that the keel may have been stuck and Britican was leaning into the river bank.
Our information came via our friends, Ron and Mercedes, on sailing vessel Samana. Ron and Mercedes anchored next to us. After the storm passed the couple arrived at the anchoring site hours before us. When Ron called, he said something to the effect of, ‘Things are looking good. Your boat is floating but…’
I hung on tenterhooks wondering what was coming next. Ron is one of the calmest guys I know. He could get blown over and he’d just stand back up, dust himself off and say quietly, ‘wow – it’s breezy out.’ During a previous hurricane, Hurricane Matthew, Ron kept so calm and so peaceful… This year was the same. The guy is my peace guru.
Anyway, Ron went on to explain that Britican dragged anchor, she was against the reeds along the side of the Cooper River and looked like she was staying put. We were still at least four hours away by car. Can you imagine knowing that your boat has dragged, the tide is rising and you don’t know if the anchor has reset or not?!
Simon and I felt ill beyond belief.
Ron said he’d check things out and get back to us. Ron had to use a canoe to get to his boat to be able to collect his dinghy. It wasn’t a quick and easy trip as he had to work against the tide and the boats were quite a way out!
We patiently navigated the insane I95, the main road that connects the east coast going north and south. At one point we had a few lunatic drivers near us – all tailgating going 80 miles per hour. The traffic was start – stop…and when the flow started going fast, people went full out.
Simon got out of the way of the crazy drivers and can you believe the four main drivers that were tailgating all crashed right next to us! One of the cars seemed to blow out sideways as it was crushed from the front and back with a part of the wing mirror hitting us. No one was hurt – it was simply a fender bender that happened due to a lack of space between cars. Simon and I counted our blessings because we could have so easily been caught in the crash.
After the accident, we tried to find alternative routes.
Our friend, Becky, who was with us on our Sailing to Bermuda voyage called up with a variety of alternative routes to take. By the time we got into South Carolina, we quickly got off the I95 and enjoyed the backroads of the Lowcountry.
Another call from Ron came through. He said, ‘I’m on the boat…I think we can get her out of the mud/reeds. Walk me through turning the engine and windlass on.’ (The windlass is the device that pulls up the anchor – it’s a winch).
Simon and I then had to give very precise instructions on how to prepare the boat to run. During our hurricane prep, we sealed off the engine exhaust, closed stopcocks, turned off batteries, taped down instruments, etc.
One thing led to another and Ron, Mercedes, and a guy named Mike from a Catamaran anchored nearby got Britican out of the mud, and anchored back in the river.
And then…Mercedes bailed out our dinghy!
Then the lovely couple took it to land so we’d have a way to get to our boat.
If there’s some sort of award for best sailing community members they need to win the award. And their help didn’t stop there either. They kept in touch with us as we motored down the Cooper River. Ron and Mercedes rode the high tide down the river an hour earlier than us.
When we arrived at the marina, they helped take our lines and ensure we got in safe and sound.
Mercedes & Ron – We thank you with all our hearts!
Hurricane Prep – The Final Story
Start Your Hurricane Prep Now!
If your boat is in a hurricane-prone area don’t wait to start planning. Well before hurricanes hit you need a plan. It’s also good to have a checklist of everything that needs to happen to prepare your boat. Get a copy of our Hurricane Checklist Guide. It includes the checklists that we used to keep our boat as safe as possible through this and several other storms.
Other Articles About Hurricane Season
To get a general overview about hurricane season, read: All About Hurricane Season – What’s the scoop? Otherwise, here are some other articles and videos about how we’ve prepared for hurricane season.