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Spared by the Wind’s Direction – By Stephen Lee

October 1, 2011

Spared by the Wind’s Direction

By Stephen Lee

Marblehead, MA

Photo 1: Stephen Lee's Freedom 35 on a mooring in Marblehead, MA during Hurricane Irene


Editor’s Note: Stephen Lee’s Freedom 35 sailboat rode safely on a mooring during Hurricane Irene (see photo No. 1). The 45-foot sailboat shown in photo No. 2 was not so lucky. It was moored in New Bedford, MA, behind the storm wall, when it was damaged by a boat that had broken free from a nearby mooring. The last sentence of Stephen’s email suggests a valuable lesson for us all.

Hi Stu,

So much of hurricane preparedness depends upon from which direction the wind is blowing. Attached is a picture of my boat in Marblehead, MA. Marblehead is open to the northeast. Predominant winds from Irene in our area were SE, then S, then SW.  As you can see, our Freedom 35 (navy blue hull with white scoop transom) is not moving much at her mooring. And this is at the height of the storm.

We had stripped the deck, including the chart plotter and dorade vents, and were

Photo 2: Damage sustained while on a mooring, behind the storm wall, in New Bedford, MA

debating whether to remove the steering wheel. We added an additional line to the mooring as extra protection. Some boats were putting out fenders in case another boat came loose. I decided that I’d rather go with less windage, and hoped for bad aim on the part of any boat that might break free. Having a couple of empty moorings around me was nice too.

A friend who was behind the hurricane wall in New Bedford had a much rougher time. As I understand it, the concrete docks were moving up and down considerably. He suffered cosmetic gel coat damage to the boat (and probably a nervous breakdown watching from shore!!). I had just come back from Maine on the previous Wednesday.  I didn’t hear about Irene coming up until we were almost in the harbor. If I had more notice, I would have holed up down east with books and cookies.

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