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Voyages: Apache

Ron Hill describes his fall 1999 trip aboard Apache (#788).

Apache is back home after our fall 6-week cruise. Some of the strangest weather I've ever encountered. Either the water was flat with no wind or it was +40 knots. So a trip plan that calls for sailing "where the wind takes us" wound up to be a lot of motoring or hiding out in a protected anchorage. Anyway, it was good to be out on the boat.

We encountered 2 hurricanes, Dennis and Floyd. We hid out from Dennis in a very protected anchorage with winds of about 30-35 knots in the anchorage with 60+ knots on Chesapeake Bay. We were fine. For hurricane Floyd things were quite different. We anchored in a "hurricane hole" called Horn Harbor on the Great Wicomico River. It had 50' banks and 50'-75' trees on top of the banks with a very narrow entrance. We were joined by 4 other boats. We stripped sails, dodger, bimini, and anything that could to reduce windage, double anchored with 80' rhodes and got off the boat. The eye of the hurricane passed the Eastern shore about 100NM east of Horn Harbor. A lot of rain and a lot of wind (you could hear the trees cracking). Fortunately the boat was
fine when we returned to it after the storm. People on shore estimated it blew up to 70-75 knots even in the protected cove.

Out of all the things that I remembered to do I did forget two items. I forgot to turn the dorade vents aft (I had screw in caps from the inside) and also forgot to take down the 8' Loran whip antenna, which I'm sure must have been bent over at 45 degrees in that kind of wind. A little bit of water in the port and aft lazarettes, but considering the deluge of rain (over 1') it wasn't really significant. For those of you with a 1988 and earlier C34, my anchor roller modification was superb (Mainsheet May 1995). In these situations it is an absolute must to be able to double anchor. Might also note that on each anchor rhode I had 15 lb sentinels to ensure that if the wind shifted the lazy anchor rhode
couldn't wrap the wing & pull out.

When we arrived back at the boat after the storm, it was still blowing 29Kts. with higher gusts. I let the dingy on too long a tether and the wind caught it and flipped it upside down with the motor still on so I had some other problems to deal with. Learning point, keep a short tether so the hull of your C34 will block the wind from the dingy. Better still, remove the motor ASAP. Also when leaving the dingy, close the fuel tank vent!

Although the entire region was out of power, businesses, motels and restaurants closed down, we found out we were better off back on the boat after the hurricane passed as we had power, refrigeration, water and food!

Also two hours before Floyd was abeam our location, NOAA weather channels 1&2 were flooded out and stopped Xmitting, the cellphone reception turned to crap, and the TV reception was stinko to 0 - so in this Information Age we had NONE!!

Every sailing trip is different. Hope the spring cruise will have
nicer, kinder weather and better sailing. Time now to get ready to haul the boat for the winter -- already going into withdrawal!




Last modified by Phil Imhof, Monday, August 09, 2004 . Copyright 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.