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Preparing for Irene

The east coast of North America met Hurricane Irene over the weekend, the weather event that caused evacuations of low lying coastal areas, stopped public transit in parts of New York City and threatened Nova Scotia and the Canadian maritimes. Here in Lunenburg, we had been keeping an eye on Irene since it first formed, watched it batter in the Bahamas and had an eye constantly out for the next forecast as we tried to assess what Irene had in store for Picton Castle.

While it’s good to be optimistic and hope for the best, one should also prepare for the worst. With this in mind, we set about our preparations for Irene on Friday. The crew went through an orientation to heavy weather in port and then got to work preparing the Picton Castle for the storm, including the following:

– extra hawsers and chafe gear
– brace yards sharp on a port tack
– nip halyards in to the rig so they don’t blow around and chafe
– move the skiff from where it was tied up behind the ship
– take small boats off the moorings near the Dory Shop and pull them up on to the beach
– move all boats to higher ground
– haul back the ship’s anchor chain to tighten it and to take the strain off the wharf
– take away the gangway as needed
– check bilges

The highest winds were forecast to be here on Sunday night, so the crew were divided into night watches, keeping an eye on lines, chafe gear, and doing regular ship checks. By the time Irene arrived, it was a post-tropical storm. Sunrise on Monday brought diminished winds, clear sunny skies and no damage.

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