Category 4 hurricane Matthew is heading our direction and expected to pass east of us a short distance off the coast of Florida. We have taken refuge up the St. John's river and are now in "Storm Prep" mode. It is now rated as the largest storm on the planet, and is over 1000 kilometers wide with the center forecast to pass 150 km east of us. Here is part of our "Storm Preperations / Hurricane Plan":
When a storm is forecast to hit more than 50 miles but less than 100 miles of our location, 36 hours (or less) out
Remove the roller furling headsail.
secure the top roller furling mechanism that comes down when lowering the roller-furled headsail. It needs to be secured with line and/or bungee cord to something fixed, like a stanchion.
Secure the halyard tightly somewhere, too.
Remove canvas from sides of hard bimini.
Remove the mainsail. Wrap it with line if a light storm is expected.
Double up all dock lines, add spring lines and extra lines as needed.
How you secure your lines to a piling that is attached to the dock can be crucial. The best way is to go around the piling twice, then make two half hitches to the line. The line will always be free for adjustment, regardless of the strain on it.
Have chafe protection on lines.
Have lots of fenders.
Make sure all gear on deck and below is stowed.
Close all through-hull valves, switch off engine batteries
All hatches and portlights need to be closed and duct taped shut (to prevent water ingress)
Cowl vents should be removed
Any anchors on deck must be secured in place by being locked down
Exterior lockers closed and locked or wired shut
Companionway closed and locked
Shore power should be disconnected and power cords stowed.
Dinghies should be taken ashore if possible, and tied down securely.
If dinghy is to be stored on boat, deflate and move in cabin
If boat is pulled out, dinghy can be inverted and strapped down under boat
Last option, tie down (inverted) on deck
If you can, be there during the storm to adjust your lines. You will also learn a lot on what is working and what is not.
There is a fair amount of work to do, so this post is going to be short. We still have a lot of our prep done from Hurricane Hermine, so that will save us somewhat. We are heading to the store shortly to pick up emergency food & water supplies for a week or two in case things get really bad here.
We will try to keep everyone updated, but our priority is preparing for the storm so excuse us if we are quiet for a day or two.