Lunenberg, NS (01/14/02) - Warnings of easterlies
in January didn't prepare us for the vengeance of a winter hurricane. The
storms of the North Atlantic in winter don't have names like the tropical
storms of the Caribbean but they attack with every bit as much ferocity.
We awoke on the morning of the 13th with a knock on the
companionway hatch from Phil Sharpe of Covey Island Boats. I
hadn't checked the weather, thinking that we were tucked in snuggly
and safely behind the bakery near the mouth of the LaHave River. We
had already experienced gale force winds in this spot without much
discomfort. We were not prepared for the immense storm that was
about to pass over us.
Phil recommended that we move up river to Bridgewater
immediately. The local weather predicted storm force easterly
winds in a few hours in our vicinity.
An hour later the winds had picked up from a dead calm
to about 25 knots and we were motoring up river 10 miles to Bridgewater
where we could tie up next to a retired Canadian frigate for the night. By
noon we were settled in to wait out the storm.
The basin in Bridgewater was calm all day. Barbara
turned in early and, at about 10:30PM, I felt the wind picking up
and went out to check the lines. The tide was rising much higher
than expected and quickly approaching the top of the dock. There
was barely room to set the fenders.
The wind was picking up from the west and was already
at 40 knots. I called Phil to see if he could lend a hand to
fend us off. By 11:30 when Phil and John Steele of Covey arrived
things had taken a turn for the worse. Although the tide was
now lower, the wind was up to a steady 65 knots and pounding us against
Phil and John both felt that our best bet would be
to anchor in the middle of the basin and keep a watch.
Phil volunteered to stay on board for the night.
We set the anchor, a 110 lb Bruce, about midnight and
I took the first watch. Barbara woke up as we motored off and
I was glad she had been able to get at least a little sleep. By
12:45 the wind had picked up to well over 75 knots and we were dragging. I've
thought about this a lot today since this anchor could hold a battleship
and we are not a heavy boat.N
I think we had two problems: We didn't have room for
adequate scope to set the anchor properly, and we had enough windage
to sail off under bare poles. The basin is only 200 to 500 ft
wide and is very shallow.