Friday, August 26th – preparing for Irene in Dering Harbor

Stripping Cutter Loose of her sails and canvas in advance of Irene

Today is a crunch day, preparing Cutter Loose for the arrival of Irene.  We work from 8 AM to 8 PM removing and storing headsails, dodger, bimini, dinghy, outboard and lashing  lines on deck.  By the end of the day, we are exhausted.   But it is a good feeling of exhaustion.  We are on a mission.

We take time away from Cutter Loose mid-morning to dinghy over to the yacht club.  We are prepared to plead our case to the dockmaster, but he is busy on a conference call with yacht club officials.  Irene has everybody’s attention. 

During our visit, we overhear the conversations of yacht club members as they sip coffee on the deck overlooking the harbor.  They are looking forward to spirited racing on Saturday.  They comment on the surprising number of boats remaining in the harbor, many of which still have sails that should be removed prior to the storm.  While these folks are enjoying coffee, there are sailors in the harbor whose lives and life savings swing in the balance of Irene.   Rather than pitching in to help out, these folks describe the inattention to detail as “criminal”.  We are clearly out of our element here in Dering Harbor.

The dockmaster maneuvers the yacht club launch alongside Cutter Loose late in the afternoon.  He  explains that our mooring is owned by a woman who lives in a home with a harbor view.  She notices Cutter Loose in the harbor and calls to express her discomfort with the notion of a transient boat attached to her mooring during a storm.  He apologetically directs us to an alternate mooring in the outer harbor…so far out that we seem closer to Greenport than Dering Harbor.  The theory is that we are less of a threat to the boats of yacht club members if Cutter Loose is on the outskirts of the harbor.  On one hand, we are pleased that we are permitted to stay.  We are no longer orphans.  But our new location in the outer harbor is significantly less protected.

The latest forecasted track of Irene is ever so slightly to the west of our present location.  We try not to overreact to the NOAA updates.  Besides being depressing, the forecast will undoubtedly change as Irene draws nearer.  We have heard predictions of wind speeds that are all over the map.  It is theoretically possible for the storm to weaken or track further inland.  At this point, we have no control over the weather.  We are where we are and what will be, will be.  But the basics are as follows.  East winds should begin to crank up here in Dering Harbor on Saturday evening.  The real action will begin after midnight with gusts forecasted in the 55 knot range.  On Sunday morning at the peak of the storm, southeast, then southwest winds are predicted.  Then on Sunday evening, the winds will shift to the west, which is the sector of our greatest exposure.  By Monday morning, Irene will be history. 

While we are putting the finishing touches on prepping Cutter Loose for Irene on Saturday morning, our friends on the Chesapeake Bay will be encountering tropical storm conditions.  We wish them well and pray for continued weakening of Irene.  There is an element of selfishness in this sentiment.  Our Subaru in the parking lot of Osprey Point Marina in Rock Hall is threatened by storm surge.  We should have left a set of keys with friends Bill and Alice.

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