Day 306, Year 6: Preparing for Irene
Date: Friday, August 26, 2011
Weather: Beautiful, Calm Day
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

I think I remember saying to our daughter yesterday that getting Windbird ready for a hurricane would take us only a couple of hours. How could I have thought that? It is 9 pm and I have been at it since 8 am this morning with a two hour break to go to a picnic celebrating the end-of-summer camp for the Woods Hole Daycare Cooperative. Mark worked at West Marine from 8 am to noon and then he came home and worked like a crazy man for the remainder of the day. We’re not completely done, but almost. I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished during the morning but a kept plodding along. I’m just not as fast as Mark. Everything went smoothly with one exception. When we tried to bring the headsail down it would only come halfway. We immediately knew the problem as we went through this in New Zealand. One of the extrusion screws in the furler had worked its way loose and it was blocking the path of the sail. This means that the part of the sail that wasn’t already on the deck was up. Thankfully there was almost no wind today. When this happened in New Zealand, a younger cruising friend with rigging experience climbed the mast and then slid down the head stay to fix the problem. Since we don’t have any young cruising friends here, it was up to Mark to do this. But one of the two cruisers we have met in Eel Pond saw we were having a problem and came over to help. Bob Morris of Apogee and I hoisted Mark to the top of the mast and then he tied himself to the head stay and we slowly lowered him. When he was done, we had to winch him back up to the top of the mast and he helped by wrapping his legs around the headstay and pulling himself up as well. He was exhausted when that was done, but he kept on going. He really is the Energizer Bunny. Tomorrow Mark works in the morning and I will go to Heather and Jed’s and help with hurricane prep there. Then in the afternoon we will come back to Windbird and double and triple check everything to make sure we are as ready as possible. We have removed everything on deck that is not permanently screwed down and stored all those things below, but we’ll take a fresh look tomorrow afternoon to make sure we haven’t missed something. Here’s a list of things we did today in preparation:

–removed the dodger and bimini canvas
–took all seat cushions out of cockpit and stored below
–removed all the stainless steel cowl vents and put on the dorade caps
–removed the Jibe Easy and the preventor
–untied 4 diesel jerry jugs, cleaned them out, and stored in forward head
–untied 4 gasoline jerry jugs which we will take to Heather’s as you can’t store gasoline inside as the fumes are flammable
–untied 3 water jerry jugs which we will take to Heather’s to have extra water
–removed dinghy davit pullies that hoist the dinghy on deck, and dinghy motor hoist
–took down staysail and stored below
–took down headsail and stored below
–removed the MOM 8 (man overboard module)
–put out the anchor with about 175 feet of chain in the case the mooring breaks loose
–added extra braided nylon line to extend our mooring lines
–added two extra mooring lines
–re-stitched the front of the mast mainsail cover
–wrapped all the lines hanging on the mast around the mast
–took down the jacklines and wrapped line around and around the mainsail
–took the blades off the wind generator
–removed the wind speed and direction transducer from top of the mast
–put on extra wire ties attaching radio antenna cable to back stay
–and whole bunch of other little things

I’m tired just listing all of these things, but you do what you have to do. Eel Pond is filling up with boats from the outer harbor. Our mooring is right in front of the Marine Biological Lab’s dock and they brought in a number of boats today and secured them to their dock. This little pond was buzzing with activity today and will be again in the morning. But at noon tomorrow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute shuts down all of its buildings and all of its parking lots in downtown Woods Hole. The Marine Biological Lab will probably do the same, so by the time we get back here tomorrow afternoon I think things will be a bit quieter. We are supposed to start getting stormy weather tomorrow afternoon and Heather has convinced us that we have to come and stay at her house tomorrow night. The eye of Irene is currently slated to hit further inland in the early afternoon on Sunday. The estimated time of arrival keeps getting earlier and earlier and wind speeds will probably be in excess of 35 knots on Sunday morning. So if we would stay here tomorrow night, rowing the dinghy to shore on Sunday morning could be impossible. We are planning on raising the dinghy motor and leaving it locked on Windbird. Then we’ll row the dinghy to shore, pull it out of the water, tie it to something stable, and deflate the pontoons. The only hitch to this is that we already took down the dinghy motor hoist, so that has to go back up in the morning.

Tonight I’m thinking about my sister Patsy and her husband Joe, my sister-in-law Conda, and our friends Lee and Lynda Kaufman, who all live in North Carolina close to the shore. Hopefully Irene will hit north of them rather than make a direct hit near Myrtle Beach. Mark’s sister Mary Ellen who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida called today to tell us she is thinking of us. Usually it is the other way around with hurricanes, but this time Florida got a break and those of us further north are going to feel this one. Let’s just hope Irene is not as fierce as she looks to be.

110826 Day 306 Cape Cod, USA–Woods Hole Daycare Coop Picnic