Storm Preparation

Storms are something we experience every year at Mayo Sailing Club; sometimes with significant consequences. Following is a list of precautions every skipper may wish to review and follow to avoid the risk of their boat going adrift or their sails shredding.

Remove Larger Vessels to Safe Harbour

Historically those vessels that were moved to “Safe Harbours” weathered server storms better than those that remained on their moorings in the outer harbour.

Reduce Windage

·         Remove roller furling headsails

o   or wrap a line around the sail to prevent it from unfurling – several wraps with the headsail sheet on a tightly wrapped headsail

o   it is bad practice to leave a triangle of headsail exposed

·         Remove mainsails and possibly the entire boom (if not removing mainsail then “wrap” lash with line)

·         Remove all dodgers / sprayhoods (or fold and lash), dinghies and other removable deck gear

·         Remove all flags, radar reflectors etc.

Rig Secondary “Storm” Bridle

Rig a storm bridle as a secondary and “lazy” bridle to the primary bridles. Ensure that the storm bridle has proper chafe protection* and is securely attached to the vessel, e.g. bowline around the mast.

Inspect Your Primary Bridle and Attachment

Ensure proper chafe protection* and that the pennant is resting in the chocks.

Remove and Stow Anchors from Bow

Remove all anchors stowed at or overhanging the bow even if they appear to be clear from the mooring lines. Remember that in heavy seas that the mooring lines will go straight out and even up from the bow.

Inspect Bow Chocks

Inspect for secure fastening and sharp edges that would cause change. Rig restraining lines to keep mooring lines from lifting out of chocks.

Last Check Before Leaving The Boat

·         Ensure that your bilge pumps are working properly.

·         Tillers and wheels should be locked and lashed straight ahead (not to one side) to reduce the effects of the boat “sailing” on its mooring.

These are actually things that should be done every time you leave the boat after use, not just during storm season.

Remember, the only time to prepare is before the storm

Following the above steps will help ensure that your boat is as prepared as possible in a storm situation.

*To be effective a chafe protector must be securely attached to the rope. If the rope moves inside the protector it may still chafe.