The C-word… Cyclone

The c-word we’re talking about, is Cyclones…

Cyclones are just part of the furniture here in north Queensland during the early months of the year. They are not to be frightened of but rather prepared for, as this is really all you can do. You can’t know or control when they will come, how strong they will be or what silly name they will be called, but you can do a few things to minimise to risk of damage to your vessel when there are wind gusts of more than 100k’s an hour.

Last year the day after Cid’s birth, we had a Cyclone direct hit. We were tucked up nice and snug in the hospital with air-conditioning and TV while most of the area was flooding and powerless.

During this time, the boat obviously was in the Marina and prepared as best as possible however; ultimately left to fend for itself and possibly was not visited again for a couple of weeks following the whirlwind of having a baby (I am not even sure I stepped outside the house for first 10 days, my memory is a little hazy from this time).

A category 2 Cyclone (T.C Marcia) has formed in the Coral Sea. Marcia’s track map shows her heading in a south westerly directing due to cross the coast at near Yeppoon. We may not see any major effect from this due to being to the north of the storm however, ‘storm force’ winds have been forecast over the next few days.

 

T.C. Marcia,  Bureau of Meteorology
T.C. Marcia, Bureau of Meteorology

 

We have currently come back into the marina, as some plans have fallen in our laps which will take us on a short journey south by road in the next few days (more on this later) and we were going to put the boat in while we were away. This decision came a little earlier due to the change in weather, but that’s o.k., we are here to have a good, fun and safe time.

The following are some tips from Captain Obvious on preparing your boat for a cyclone coming your way…

1. Batten the hatches, seriously.
2. Seal any known leaks, because cyclones are generally very wet! (Mythbusters proved that duck tape is the most versatile thing which other than water and a chicken is all you would need on a deserted island).
3. Remove and stow your sails and sail bags, as these will probably become shredded if you don’t.
4. Remove and stow any loose items on your deck (generally anything not bolted down).
5. If you are in the marina, add extra dock lines and fenders to your boat.
6. If you are on a mooring, (hopefully your mooring has been surveyed and has decent tackle) ensure your boat is securely attached to your mooring line/chain, perhaps utilise the assistance of a snubber or bridle for an extra safety measure.
7. If you are at anchor, let out more chain and perhaps use a snubber or bridle for extra measure
8. If you are up a creek, lucky you, lots of ropes and knots will be most helpful.
9. If you are on your boat and are in the zones that will be most effected by the Cyclone, best you leave your girl as best as she can be and head for a dry patch of land… and

10. Don’t panic!

 

For further reading, here are some formal advices:

Bureau of Meteorology: Surviving Cyclones, Preparation and Safety Procedures

MSQ preparing your boat for severe storms

DFES WA Cyclone Smart: Protecting your Boat

Harden Up: Prepare your Boat

 

Take it easy, stay dry!

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