Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Listening to "Muddy Waters" by The Seldom Scene

It is with much relief that I sit here on the porch of the marina clubhouse, wrapped in a blanket to ward off the cold, and thank the powers that be that Sandy spared us her wrath.  I had just flown back to North Carolina and had yet to unpack my bags when I heard the rumblings of "that hurricane" everyone was keeping a wary eye on.  Perhaps it was because I had been out of town, but it felt as though this entire storm system crept up out nowhere...or maybe it was because so many were talking about heading south or had, in fact, already left for destinations south.  

The entire marina was a buzz of activity with people removing jibs and staysails, securing mains, checking lines, and putting out extra fenders. Cars, trailered boats, bicycles, and other miscellaneous items were moved to higher ground while dinghy's were moved to the rack and tied down.  Everyone was studiously working to prepare for the worst (and hope for the best), but it certainly lacked some of the urgency of last year when Irene was headed in our direction.  

Last year's direct hit, and the ensuing 12ft storm surge and winds, left a trail of devastation that many are still recovering from both here and beyond.  The Pamlico County Middle School suffered so much damage it took a little over eight months to reopen, and others are still dealing with the million little headaches involved in repairing or rebuilding their homes.

Sandy was forecast to graze us as she passed and that is exactly what happened.  Here at the marina winds topped out at just over 40mph and the surge was between three and four feet.  Drake was particularly concerned because, though Paragon's mast and rigging is in place, she has yet to be tuned.  He spent some time tightening the stays and shrouds to make sure a particularly vicious puff didn't bring the rig down.  We also made sure the deck was cleared of all random gear and put last minute items in the cockpit or below.  

All that being done we went below and hunkered down with good food, drink, and company (!) and waited out the storm.  Now, as we uncurl from our two day hiatus and begin work again, we look to the north.  We've started to hear the reports of Sandy's landfall and send all of our best wishes to those now dealing with the aftermath of this powerful hurricane.  We wish you a safe and speedy recovery!

water just a breath below the dock

flooding under the marina clubhouse

Hark!  I see land!  Though it's usually right here under me…?
Flood waters have receded and we're back to normal

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The insulation conundrum

Listening to "Autumn Leaves" by Eva Cassidy

Tick tock.  Tick tock.  As the time slips away we work on the seemingly endless projects.  At times it feels as though we are almost there, but then realize that what we thought would take a day or two suddenly has stretched into a week or more.  

I draped the salon in plastic sheets and Drake installed a base support for our new, beautiful batteries.  This included the unavoidable task of attaching and grinding fiberglass inside the boat which is...awful.  There is no other way to describe the task.  I'm sure those of you who have had the delightful experience of dealing with fiberglass know how it can, seemingly, invade every area of your space and feel like a thousand little daggers in your skin.  We tried to minimize particles as much as possible, but still managed to get flecks in some unlikely places.  However, we now have a lovely and stable resting place for these extremely heavy batteries.  I believe we're installing some side brackets and top straps and then we'll be done.  Maybe.  *grin* 

While this was going on, I was upside down in a locker under the bed in the aft cabin measuring out templates for the insulation.  Many of the places we intend on visiting, especially next year, will be colder, and properly insulating the boat is a must.   Has anyone out there looked at insulation?  Is there something in particular that you prefer?  We have looked at soooooo many different types that our heads were literally swirling with visions of, not sugar plums, but closed cell foam and such.  We finally decided on Volara which is a 4lb density closed cell foam.  It's flexible, has low water absorption and vapor transition, and is non-toxic among other things.  We have installed this stuff in the majority of accessible areas in the boat and very much look forward to seeing how well it works.  This winter will be telling.  I'm especially interested in seeing how it handles the condensation; is there really any good way?  It appears to be the nemesis of many a sailor and, from what I've heard so far, there doesn't seem to be any really great way to deal with the problem.  I'd be interested in hearing more…

One of the benefits of making the templates is that once they were finished I was able to go outside to cut the foam which was a welcome relief from the fiberglass upside down craziness on board.  I even wrote one of my favourite snippets from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay on the last piece of foam.  Now every time we grab plumbing hose from under the bed I'll see her beautiful words and remember my afternoon.  It kind of makes me want to write little quotes all over the boat as a kind of unexpected inspiration.  

Now as we near the end of October, we both feel the clock ticking louder and louder.  The departure date seems to be slipping further and further away.  I suppose we'll see...