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A believe-it-or-not hurricane story

Posted by Alan on October 29, 2005 at 10:49:02

After just having endured yet another hurricane down here in Florida (We had to move our sailboat to a hurricane-hole marina to protect it from hurricane Wilma) I read this incredible story in a sailing magazine. It really sounds like a Ripley's Believe-it-or-not story.

Protect Your Boat During a Hurricane?
Let the Boat Take Care of Itself
From Michael Burke Boxford, MA / Bradenton, FL
Being a snowbird, I just happened to be in Florida for a week and picked up your July edition.
I thought that my hurricane tale may be interesting to your readers.
I belong to Winthrop Yacht Club, Winthrop, MA (Boston Harbor next to Logan Airport). In September, 1995, just before Hurricane Gloria came through the area, I stripped sails, boom and all other removable gear off Stargazer, my Ranger 33, and moved it to a friend's mooring that had a 500-pound mushroom anchor compared to my 250-pound oneónot knowing, "stupid me," that my friend's mooring had a one-inch, three-strand rode to the mooring buoy, unlike mine that had all 5/8-inch chain, I put out six big fenders port and starboard, lashed the wheel amidship, put on chafing gear and went home to Boxford, 35 miles away.
When Gloria hit, friends at the yacht club told me the story and gave me pictures of Stargazer's run through the mooring area.
First, the rode broke off from the mushroom anchor. Then Stargazer turned 180 degrees and went approximately one-quarter mile toward the rocks at the Elks Club Marina, weaving through many moored boats along the way, missing every one of them. Then, approximately 50 yards from the rocks, she took a 90-
degree turn to port and proceeded rail down toward Shirley Street. Approximately 25 yards short of the beach, she took a 90-degree turn to starboard and went straight into the only "open" slip at Crystal Cove Marina where some (as always) GREAT lobstermen secured her. Boston Globe reporter Andrew Blake wrote in the paper on September 29 of that year that the boat "angled into the empty slot like a guided missle and was secured by half a dozen people in yellow slickers." Blake's report continued with a quote from Richard Minichino, who watched the entire event from the upper deck of the Winthrop Yacht Club and remarked, "Don't tell me boats don't have minds of their own."
The only damage was a slightly bent, forward stanchion. After that event I purchased a 500-pound mooring anchor and never trusted an unknown mooring again.
Many friends still talk about Stargazer's run through the mooring area to this day.
After that, I always kidded with them that, if "the poop hits the fan while I'm aboard, I would lash the wheel, go below, and let her take me home safely."
70 September 2005 SOUTHWINDS
www.southwindsmagazine.com