Hunker Down for Honking Winds

Paradise Lakes from Mizzentop

I mentioned before that the mooring in Paradise Lakes is probably my favorite place we have ever stayed. After this last front the blew through, it is definitely my favorite. We finally got “used to” the threat of gale force gusts (34-40 kts), but when we got a weather forecast for strong storm force gusts (48-55 kts)…it was time to hunker down.

Logan and I both learned how to hunker down in Texas. When a hurricane is approaching, you hunker down – meaning prepare your house for foul weather and plan to stay cooped up for a number of days. This is exactly what we did here in Bermuda, but how exactly does one hunker down on a sailboat? 1-Find a protected spot to ride out the storm. On New Years Day, we moved the boat from St. George’s Harbor back to the mooring ball in Paradise Lakes where we are protected on almost all sides. 2-Stock up on water and provisions. We bought tons of veggies to “detox” after the holidays. 3-Secure the sails. We decided to leave the headsail on the furler – but we gave it extra wraps with the jib sheets and then secured those back in the cockpit. We also took our longest line and wrapped and then re-wrapped our mainsail to make sure it didn’t budge. 4-Move all halyards away from the mast and tie ’em up tight! The winds were supposed to blow for about 36 hours and lines slapping the mast would have driven us both insane. 5-Batten down the hatches (literally!) and get the camera ready. You never know what might happen!

So we were ready. The storm came and the winds were definitely honking – this is some new Bermudian lingo :) I don’t think there are any specific knot requirements for honking winds, but you know when it happens. We saw 40kts back here in the Lakes, but the airport recorded winds in the upper 40’s. (we use the Beaufort scale to describe the wind and sea state) It was pretty exciting, but nothing broke, came loose, or was overly scary. We both laughed when we realized that we hadn’t seen winds like that since we were out crossing the Atlantic!

We are still hanging out here in our little private paradise. We haven’t even put Princess Ding-a-ling back in the water! The two of us have been confined to this 37 foot sailboat for almost a week now which may be a new record. We have filled the time with reading books, playing Phase 10 and Uno, watching movies, cleaning the boat, and today we are knocking out a few boat projects. We have another front coming though tomorrow and then we plan to head back to civilization to make sure our legs still work on land.

In other news, we have decided to take on a third crew member for our journey south. Smitty is a super friendly Bermudian we met through friends here who happens to have made this passage 20 times…chances are we learn a thing or two in addition to getting the luxury of sleeping 6 hours a night. Can’t beat that! So now that we have a new belt installed on our auto helm, we will be ready when that juicy weather winds pops up.


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