The rest of the day was spent stripping all the sails and tying the boat with every heavy line we could find on board. It was good timing as the main went below just as the first rain shower arrived. Flaking and storing soggy sails is as unpleasant a task as it sounds. The dink was hoisted aboard, deflated, packaged and stowed in the cockpit. Gas cans where carried ashore and stored off the boat. The heavy rain and lighting arrived on the walk back. There are thunderstorms all around us tonight, none of it Joaquin's fault, but a preview of things to come.
Tomorrow the rest of the canvas will come down, the boom will get lashed to the deck, and the solar array will get stored below. It is likely to be a wet and dreary day. Thru-hulls will get closed, the batteries will get a full charge, and the boat will get unplugged. A hundred other little tasks will be done to make our old Tartan both as small and as tough a target as possible.
Friday morning Deb and I will join another crew from the marina and run inland like scared little bunnies, riding out the storm in a hotel somewhere far inland. There are those who chose to ride out such weather on their boat. I am not one of them. Once the prep is done and the storm arrives there is little one can do to change the outcome. The boat will survive, or it will not. If it doesn't being on board accomplishes nothing but putting one's self at risk. Everything we own is on Kintala. Everything we cherish from the boat will be riding in the car. Because a boat is only a boat.
The plan at the moment is to return Monday to see what we see, but that will depend on how much damage is done. Cat II is serious stuff, roads get closed, National Guard Units get put in the streets, access gets limited. It may take a while to learn what the future holds for our cruising life, but it seems unlikely Kintala will come through unscathed. Right now we are floating nearly 5 feet below the deck on the piers. By Sunday morning the marina expects those piers to be under water. I am not exactly sure how one secures a boat for that kind of thing, but we will do our best.
This is our first storm prep, and the first time we have had a few days warning about weather that might deliver a serious hurt. Up until now such events have blown up right on top of us with, at best, a few hours warning. But the worst was just about 60 knots worth of wind. Right now they are talking winds of 110 mph.
All this is a bit of a downer. This thing is going to miss Florida, the place our insurance company says we are not allowed to be. Then again we are not in Annapolis, anchored in Back Creek jammed cheek to jowl with people looking forward to the Boat Show. We have friends up there. The good news is that they are 100 miles north of where we are and so might take a glancing blow, not a full on assault. We are hoping for the best...
...for them and for us.