In this article, I am going to explain to you what all the things you need to do for protecting yourself and your sailboat in a hurricane. Although surviving a hurricane is not that simple, but you can follow some steps to protect yourself during a hurricane in the sailboat.
Choose an area near the shore for anchoring your boat. Try to choose an area surrounded by mountains (mountains will try to decrease the wind speed). After anchoring, keep all your belongings inside the boat. During the hurricane, you just need to check the boat condition regularly.
During a hurricane, winds can exceed 100 mph and tornadoes are often associated with these storms. Mostly, try to avoid being on the boat during the hurricane.
In the center of the hurricane, the wind speed will be high compared to the outer area of the hurricane, where the wind speed will be less. Whenever you hear about the hurricane, sail away from the hurricane area if possible. If that option is not possible, then do follow these steps to defend yourself and your boat from a hurricane.
Everything has parts to deal with, in the first part you need to prepare for a hurricane, in the second part you might not have much work to do, in the third part you need to do post-hurricane work.
Preparing for the hurricane
Before doing all the pre-hurricane work, check whether you have enough resources like food, water, etc. If you don’t have them, try to get them. Check whether all the communication devices are fully charged or not and working or not? Communication plays a major role during the hurricane.
While preparing your boat for the hurricane, there are some steps everyone needs to follow to secure your boat from the hurricane winds. These are the following steps.
- Finding a perfect area for anchoring your sailboat
- Anchoring your sailboat in a hurricane
- Keep your objects inside the sailboat during a hurricane
1. Finding a perfect area for anchoring your sailboat
The first essential thing you should do while preparing for a hurricane survival in a sailboat is to find a good area for anchoring your boat. And try to find the area that is close to the shore, not too far from the shore.
While searching for the area, you should consider the surroundings too. You can’t survive a hurricane on your own you need to take some help from nature. Check for these kinds of places that I mentioned on the list.
While selecting the area for anchoring your boat, be careful to check whether you are entering any other country’s waters.
- Check for the area that is surrounded by mountains
- Move away from the neighbor boats around you(if any)
- Check the depth of the water
1. Check for the area that is surrounded by mountains (cove)
- The hurricane survival depends on the area you selected for anchoring your boat. Try to look for an area that is surrounded by mountains or hills. The mountains will help in decreasing wind speed.
- If the boat is surrounded by mountains, the mountains will decrease the wind speed by half. The mountains will act as a barrier in protecting your boat by blocking most of the winds caused by the hurricane.
2. Move away from the neighbor boats around you (if any)
- If there are any other sailboats anchored near you, you should be careful. Have some extra dock bumpers attached to your boat. If your neighbor boat starts swinging, your boat is sitting beside to get a hit form them.
- If there are any other boats around you, try to maintain enough distance between your boat and their boat. So, there is enough space for anchoring safely.
- If there are so many boats near your boat, then tie some dock bumpers around your boat. Just in if case any other boat swings or came close to your boat. The dock guards will help you to avoid the damage.
3. Check the depth of the water
- Don’t forget to check the depth of the water, because the whole anchoring process depends on the water depth. Make sure that the depth is not too high or low.
2. Anchoring your boat in a hurricane
After finding the area for anchoring your boat. Anchor your boat with 1 or 2 anchors to avoid the swing.
Now you need to do the essential step for hurricane survival that is anchoring your boat. Since you are facing a hurricane, you need to increase your anchor scope from normal 5:1 to 7:1 or 8:1 or more, depending on the hurricane strength.
Anchor as though you plan to stay for weeks, even if you intend to leave in an hour.Lee Allred
Achor scope refers to how much longer rope or chain you need to use for anchoring your boat. If it is 5:1 anchor scope, then for every 1-meter depth in the water, you should use 5-meters long length rope or chain for anchoring your boat.
Check my article on Choosing a perfect anchor for your boat (don’t worry, it will open in a new tab). In that article, I mentioned all the things you need to consider while buying an anchor for your boat based on the bottom types.
While anchoring your boat in a hurricane, follow these steps
- Check the surroundings
- Use hurricane anchor for anchoring in hurricanes
- If possible, use extra anchors to avoid the swing of the boat
1. Check the surroundings
- While anchoring your boat, make sure that your boat is far away from other boats or ophiolite (An ophiolite is a sequence of rocks that appears to represent a section through the oceanic crust) in the sea.
- Sometimes the boat will swing around the single point (the main anchor) if you are using only one anchor. During the swing, if there are any boats or ophiolite near your boat, you may get hit them with your boat.
- Which might damage your boat. So, try to maintain some distance between them.
2. Use hurricane anchor for anchoring in hurricanes
- Don’t use the same anchor all the time for anchoring your boat. Dedicate one anchor for hurricanes and one for everyday use.
- Try to maintain a separate anchor (strong anchors like Mantus, Manson Supreme, Rocna, etc) for anchoring during a hurricane, and use a normal (small) anchor for general anchoring a boat. It is good to maintain a separate anchor for different needs.
- While buying the anchor, buy an anchor that you can dismantle the anchor into separate parts. So, you can carry big anchors in the boat.
3. If possible, use extra anchors to avoid the swing of the boat
- Use extra anchors to avoid swing around a single point (single anchor). If you anchored your sailboat with a single anchor, it might swing around the point if the wind speed increases or changes the direction.
- To prevent that swing around a single anchor, use an extra 1 or 2 anchors for holding the boat strongly.
- Mostly 2 anchors are sufficient, no need to use 3 anchors.
3. Keep your objects inside the boat during a hurricane
After anchoring your boat, 50% of the work is done. Now, it’s time to pack all the objects which are outside the boat and keep them inside the boat.
Now in this step, you need to do only one thing, just pack the necessary belongings and keep it inside the boat. While doing this step, don’t pack unnecessary belongings and dump them inside the boat, because again you should unpack them after the hurricane. Then you will face difficulty.
Follow these basic steps to do that.
- Keep your belongings which are inside the boat safely
- Then keep the belongings inside, which are outside the boat
1. Keep your belongings which are inside the boat safely
- Before packing up all the outside belongings, and keeping them inside the boat, make sure that the belongings inside the boat are properly packed.
- Keep them inside the cupboard or somewhere to avoid falling off when the boat moves up and down in the waves. Avoid keeping anything in an open cupboard during the hurricane.
- If you have an open cupboard, then remove your belongings from the open cupboard and keep them somewhere else or on the floor.
- They might fall from the cupboard on your body or somewhere else in the boat due to the big waves.
2. Then keep the belongings inside, which are outside the boat
- First, remove the objects that will fly off the boat due to the wind. Like a dinghy, jib sail, and mainsail, etc. So, that nothing will fly off from the boat.
- So pack the belongings which are valuable and keep them inside. The first thing you should do is pack the mainsail and jib sail. This is the second most important thing you should do after anchoring your boat.
- If you are having a big boat, the mainsail will be heavy, and it’s hard to remove by a single person. In that case, just take the mainsail off and tie it to the boom itself.
- And try to remove solar panels, if you have any. Keep them inside the boat if possible, else, tie them outside the boat with extra protection. If the wind speed is around or less than 70 mph, then it is fine to leave them on the boat itself.
You can eliminate all the fears by eliminating all the dangers. Dangers like anchor failure, boat drag, etc. If you can eliminate all these things, then you can be safe inside a boat.
Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear.Buzzy Trent
After packing everything and keeping them inside the boat, now there is nothing more to do. You just need to wait until the hurricane passes away.
Things to do during a hurricane in a sailboat
Now comes the essential part. During a hurricane, stay inside the boat, and stay calm. Most of the time, you should check the boat conditions and act accordingly. Checking the boat regularly during the hurricane is very crucial.
Eat a limited amount of food during a hurricane and try to use less power during the hurricane, because you might not know how long the hurricane will last.
Follow these steps to ensure that your boat is doing well or not?
- Bilge pump checking
- Mainsail checking
- Checking the neighbor boats(if any)
1. Bilge pump checking
- During the hurricanes, however, you locked the doors the water can come inside the boat. So, you should pump them out with the bilge pump.
- Ensure whether your bilge pump is working properly or not, because they often fail. The boat can sink in the water if the bilge pump is not working properly.
- Sometimes, the bilge pump might stop working due to any disturbances outside due to hurricanes. If you are using a manual bilge pump, then it is fine because every time you will check the water level, and you will turn on the pump switch.
- If you using an automatic one, which will detect the water level and automatically turn on the bilge pump switch, to pump the water out.
- The problem with this automatic water detection is it fails so many times. It may fail due to many reasons
- So, every time don’t forget to check the water level in the bilge and don’t forget about the water level detector too.
2. Mainsail checking
- If you already kept the mainsail in the boat, then there is no need to check. You need to check the mainsail if you tied it to the boom and kept it outside the boat
- Tie the mainsail to the boom strongly so that it won’t come out or fly off in the air.
3.Checking the neighbor boats (if there is any boat near you)
- If there are no boats near you, then no need to worry about this.
- If there are any sailboats anchored near you, you should be careful. Have some extra dock bumpers attached to your boat. If your neighbor boat starts swinging, your boat is sitting beside to get a hit form them.
- If there are so many boats near your boat, then tie some dock bumpers around your boat. If in case any other boat swings or came close to your boat. The dock guards will help you to avoid the damage.
Post-hurricane work in a sailboat
- The worst part of the hurricane is over. Now you need to put all the things back on the boat and start the journey.
- Now you need to check the boat and clean the boat if there is any waste on the boat. Then place the solar panels back on the boat to get power.
- After that, remove the anchor and put on your mainsail and jib sail back.
That’s it, you have successfully defeated the hurricane, and now it is time to start your journey. Check this cool video on how to prepare your boat for a hurricane? She explained it very well.
The essential thing for sailing is to practice all the things in advance. You should be aware of what to do during a hurricane, harsh weather, etc. You should have one hurricane plan, and you should practice it regularly.
The essential work you should do when you heard about the hurricane is to move away from the hurricane area, if possible. No matter what, just sail away from the area for 50 km or 100 km. That is the best way to protect yourself and your boat from a hurricane.
Sometimes you might be stuck at someplace, in the sea, it can be due to any reason (engine failure or mainsail damage or something else), during that time, you cant sail the boat, then you need to implement the hurricane survival plan.
If you are in the middle of the hurricane, then it is very hard for survival. The wind speed will be so high, like around 200 mph. At that speed, you can’t control the boat.
So finally, follow some apps or websites like the windy app or AccuWeather website or some other websites for the broadcasting news.
Check my article on Safety tips for boating: A detailed guide (don’t worry, it will open in new tab). In that article, I mentioned all the safety tips for boating in detail.
1. What essential things do you need to sail around the world?
There are some essential things you need to have with you, while you are sailing around the world on a sailboat.
- An International Certificate of Competence (ICC) certificate
- A good sailboat (that can withstand extreme weathers)
- Source of passive income
- Passport and visa
If you are interested in that, then check my article on Without these, you can’t sail around the world (don’t worry, it will open in new tab)
2. What is the ideal kind boat to sail around the world?
The best kind of boat for sailing around the world would be Sailboat or yacht.