I have never seen the expected wind gusts for this area ever go off the charts before. Like I said there is not a lot of good news. So the I at least took comfort that BIANKA was behaving well in the 25 knot winds this morning. That good feeling did not last long. As I was having my coffee in the cockpit a fellow motored by in a sailboat. Not sure where he came from but, he was aiming for the mooring directly in front of BIANKA. That mooring had had a lightweight power boat on it all summer. I let the fellow know that the mooring was not quite as heavy as it might appear. He thanked me and proceeded to pick up the mooring next to BIANKA. Well, so much for having a little extra space around the boat. But, it gets worse he proceeds to attach a fairly light weight line to the mooring pennant line which added quite a bit of scope:
BLOG UPDATE SUNDAY 1 PM:
Well there is some good news. We've gone through one high tide cycle and things seem to be near normal. The wind gust measured on Long Island Sound have hit 34 knots. But, BIANKA and the other boats seem to be ok and no none has dragged or ended up on the shore so far. Of course we are still 24 hours away from Sandy's biggest impact. But, so far so good.
BLOG UPDATE SUNDAY 5 PM:
Well the wind has kicked up a notch. The 48 volt Marine Air X wind turbine is showing 3 amps more and more when it kicks in. Earlier it was riding between one and two amps. Winds are gusting on Long Island Sound in the 30 knot range and it is supposed to increase further. But, the seagulls are still flying and evry once in awhile there is a comforting lull but, not for long. The good news is I don't see the boat dragging and there's no chafe at the bow. I have a dentists appointment in the morning to repair a broken cap made before this mess started. So I will be getting off the boat to take care of that. I hope. Rowing in these conditions would be crazy so I had to dig out the Honda BP2 outboard and put it on the dingy. Let me tell you things seem a lot worse at dingy level than in BIANKA's cockpit. After I added fuel I was glad to see the outboard started after sitting dormant for two years. Now to get to shore and hope I'll be able to get back on tomorrow. But, that could be a big if at this point. But, at least I feel confident BIANKA is handling these conditions ok. But, the real test comes tomorrow afternoon. It will be a long twenty four hours.
BLOG UPDATE SUNDAY 9PM
Well I'm back on land after taking the dingy to a nearby marina dock. Even thought the winds had increased further as I step off the boat the good news is I was actually able to row and never had to fire up the outboard. The dock was about 1/4 mile to the northwest with the winds blowing out of the Northeast I was able to crab my way to the marina quite easily. Going the other way would be another story. Good to know for the future. Getting into the dingy and loading it with things I wanted to bring to shore was the hard part. Slightly dicey I would say. But, once underway it was nice enough.
While heading home with the first sprinkles starting to wet the windshield the lyrics of the Grateful Dead song Box of Rain began to play in my head:
Look out of any window, any morning, any evening, any day.
Maybe the sun is shining, birds are singing,
No rain is falling from a heavy sky.
What do you want me to do, to do for you to see you through?
For this is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon, long ago.
Getting out of the car a few miles inland I was struck by how gentle the wind felt to what I was experiencing on BIANKA all afternoon. It was a smooth warm breeze while the winds at the harbor were much more cold and raw. They were not as constant either further inland. I must not be fooled by this difference while I am away from the boat. A reality check came from the NOAA forecast discussion which of course was not good news:
AS SANDY MOVES NORTH AND THEN NORTHWEST...AND TRANSITIONS FROM A
HURRICANE TO A SEVERE POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE BEFORE LANDFALL...IT
WILL INTENSIFY AND ITS WIND FIELD WILL CONTINUE TO EXPAND...WITH
SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40-50 MPH EXPECTED BY LATE MON AFTERNOON AND
45-55 MPH MON EVENING. GFS/NAM/ECMWF ALL IN PRETTY CLOSE AGREEMENT
ON DEVELOPMENT AND PLACEMENT OF A BAND OF VERY STRONG 925 MB WINDS
OF 70-90 KT TO THE NORTH OF THE CYCLONE BY LATE AFTERNOON OVER OUR
CWA...ESPECIALLY COASTAL SECTIONS. FCST SOUNDINGS SHOW ENOUGH OF A
SFC-BASED MIXED LAYER UP TO 925 MB THAT COULD ALLOW A LARGE
PORTION OF THESE STRONG WINDS TO MIX DOWN...ESPECIALLY IN HEAVIER
RAIN BANDS...SO AT LEAST OCCASIONAL GUSTS 60-75 MPH EXPECTED IN
NE-E FLOW BEFORE THE STORM MAKES LANDFALL.
So the winds will pick up even more tonight and another high tide is arriving in a few hours. I hope morning will find BIANKA right where I left her. She held there today quite nicely but, tomorrow with Sandy moving closer to the area it is going to make it a completely different scenerio. So I will try and get a good nights sleep and maybe take a nice hot bath to ease the pain of some aching shoulder muscles and see what tomorrow brings.