Updated: Jan 23
With hurricane season only a month away, I share my post-Irma review (from Facebook) on how we prepared for the storm that changed our lives (and many other's). After our 47-foot catamaran, Kuma Too was spared, we took a leap of faith and started Sailing Kuma Too, LLC.
"We are beyond blessed that our beloved Kuma Too held strong as Hurricane Irma passed by Tampa Bay. Thankfully, Irma was only a category 2 when the eye passed about 20 miles east of our Hurricane Hole. If Irma had hit as a cat 5, this story would have a very different ending. So how did we prepare? "Kuma Too was secured by 7 lines into the mangroves, and two anchors - an 88-pound Rocna and a 33-pound Bruce. The Rocna was set first then we ran a spring line into the mangroves to hold our position. The Bruce was then set at a 45-degree angle with the dinghy. From there we ran as many lines into the mangroves as possible. Our knot skills came in handy as we tied many lines together, and we learned that we need to purchase more lines! Each line tied to the mangroves was garnished with a chafe protector. In the end every single line and knot held! Although, one line and chafe protector actually melted together and was dug into the trunk of the mangrove!! Can you image the power and force of the wind to melt a ¾-inch double braided nylon line to a nylon sleeve chafe protector!?
"The headsail and bimini were removed and stored in the salon, and the mainsail was wrapped with every available line including the reefing lines and halyards. Every loose shackle was removed for safekeeping, and our deck light was taken off the mast because we noticed a missing screw. The grill, life sling, horseshoe ring, washing machine, small kayak, and helm backrest were all stored down below. Tape was added for additional security to the electronic covers. The mattresses and books were stored in the companion ways in case the hatches leaked. Joe rigged up safety lines to secure all the fore-deck external lockers that do not have locks (anchor, 2 storage, and windless cover).
"Once the winds were predicted over 50 mph, we packed up and headed to my grandparent’s house. Joe ran Lillie and I in on the dinghy where family was waiting to pick us up. He then had to return to secure the dinghy, which was tied with fenders to the leeward side of the boat and filled with water to lessen the chance of it being thrown by the wind. He brought in the big kayak and locked it to a palm tree. It was very emotional to leave Kuma Too; we were fully prepared that it may be our last time on board. We were still concerned with debris, but we had done everything that we could within our control to the best of our ability!"
Twenty months after the event, the emotions of that day still feel so close. We now have more lines on board should another hurricane approach, but overall, we would follow that exact preparation process. In the event a hurricane is aiming for your boat, have a plan, follow it, review your insurance policy, and pray.
To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!