Since arriving in North Carolina, we have been keeping our eye on the storm forming in the Atlantic. This storm has since turned into Hurricane Matthew and is bearing down on the southeast coast of the United States. As we traveled down the waterway earlier this week, our plans changed about 7 times. We had reservations at three different marinas from Wilmington to Georgetown, but we did not make it to any of these places. After the Governor of South Carolina called for an evacuation on Tuesday, our plans changed yet again and we docked the boat in St. James Plantation Marina located in Southport, NC. This is where ‘All In’ will ride out the storm. It seems we are destined to spend time in Southport because this is also where the boat was hauled out back in July. We spent most of Tuesday evening and Wednesday prepping the the boat for the storm. We started by cleaning and deflating our dinghy, “Al.”
Next, we took down both sails and folded them up. While this may seem a very simple task, it is rather time consuming. We hauled both sails to the grass, correctly folded them up and secured them in their sailbag. Avery and Leslie were two very helpful assistants for this part!!
After the sails were down, the dodger and bimini sunshades came off and were put away. Then, the deck needed to be completely cleared. Everything was taken off the deck….AC, generator, boat hooks, fenders, jerry jugs, seat cushions, instruments, deck brushes, grill, sheets and halyards. ALL of this stuff, including the sails and dinghy were then stowed away in our cabin.
Finally, Bryan secured and re-secured the boat until he felt satisfied with 12 lines. We are on a floating dock which is a good thing, but we are also tied to pier heads and there is a 7 foot tide, so we need to make sure the boat is both secure, but also has enough slack to account for the tide.
We also took the time to secure the anchor, bimini and dodger poles, the outboard motor, and all of the running rigging that we didn’t want to remove from the deck. Some final preparations included resealing a few of the portlights in the cabin that have leaked occasionally, testing the bilge pumps for proper operation, and closing all of the seacocks. We packed up all the food we could take with us, electronics, our portable safe containing important documents and information, and a bag of clothes. We picked up our rental car, loaded everything up and headed out to Sumter to be with Bryan’s family. At the time we left, not many people were securing their boat for a potential hurricane and the thought did run through our mind if we were over-preparing. But, our home is the boat, so I feel like being overly sensitive to the weather is necessary for the security of our home and family. Most of our belongings were left on the boat and I hope that everything is there when we get back. For that matter, I hope the boat itself is still there when we return! At this point, there is nothing we can do but sit and wait and enjoy this time with family. My prayers go out to all in the path of this storm, especially all cruisers.