Finally Gone

After days of uncertainty it seemed hurricane Matthew would turn out to sea well south of us. We cancelled our hotel reservations and stayed aboard Tivoli for the duration.

We had ample time to prepare for the approaching storm We doubled and tripled dock lines, deployed every single fender, taped shut every opening, etc. We watched the slow progression of the storm up the coast and worried about our friends along the way. Istaboa and Takes Two are in North Palm Beach, Betty B is in Fort Pierce, Dragonfly is in Brunswick, Kemo Sabe is in Charleston, and so on. Having traveled every mile of the eastern seaboard over the past two years we have come to know it pretty well and can’t imagine the devastation a Cat 4 storm could do to the people, homes, towns, cities, marinas and boats along the way. We begin each day watching the weather and news and exchanging texts and emails with friends. Thankfully, they seem to have come through unscathed.

Finally, the projected eastward turn comes at what seems to be the last minute. Matthew headed offshore north of Cape Hatteras, a scant 75-100 miles from Tidewater. Although he had been downgraded to a Cat 1 storm he still packed winds of 70 knots gusting to 90. In Portsmouth the recorded high was 72 knots. The wind shrieking and the loud slapping of a nearby sailboat’s genoa flogging itself to shreds kept us awake most of the night. How much worse will it get? Will that unattended and poorly secured boat in front of us break free?

At 11 PM the power failed. I run up to the pilothouse to see if the failure was a general one or specific to Tivoli. Unfortunately, it was a problem aboard Tivoli. Fiddling with a 50 Amp 240 Volt power cord in the driving rain didn’t seem a good idea so we opt to wait until daylight to assess the situation. In the morning it was quickly apparent that the connection from our shore power cord and a 25-foot extension had fried. Apparently water had gotten into the connection and the short circuit tripped the dockside breaker. We will need a new plug for our shore power cord and our extension.

I enter the engine room and discover water dripping down the stack and into the bilge. I am surprised since I had covered all vents on the stack with plastic. I assumed one or more had blown off. In the morning I discover the covers had remained in place through the night. Apparently the water entering the stack was being driven into the small space around the exhaust pipe that I didn’t seal shut. Live and learn. No damage done.

We have survived another hurricane at Tidewater and were lucky to share the experience with the Spencer’s on Uno Mas, the only other Nordhavn at Tidewater. Many dinners, trips to the grocery, laughter, sea stories, and perhaps too much wine enhanced our stay. Portsmouth itself has sustained some minor damage; trees down, streets flooded, some homes damaged. It could have been much worse.

Today the winds are 15-20 knots, the sun is shining and it’s time to put Tivoli back together.

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