Monday Minute - Hurricanes and Cyclone Pits

Monday Minute lets me pass on tidbits from marine folks I have known over the years. Often a comment during a boat tour, or an off-handed remark as we walk through a facility, I find these words of wisdom in the pages of my PMM notebooks. While they are not usually meaty enough to fill an entire blog post or command an entire article, they are pearls of wisdom you will want to know.


With the recent hurricane and tropical storms, everyone seems to be talking about preparing for the Big One. At this point, we have no real clue where Irma will make landfall, but it is certainly a topic of conversation. Storm preparation. And our thoughts remain with folks in Texas.

I wanted to share a photo of the typical boat yard scene. (No idea where this is but it looks like pretty much every boat yard in the U.S.) When storms are expected, and the forecast goes from bad to worse, yards frantically pull out sail and power boats and place them wherever they can and surround each boat with jack stands. Everything topside is removed, if possible, and the yard and owners keep their fingers crossed that the bulk of the storm gives only a glancing blow to the area. Rain and high winds can cause all sorts of damage, but most everyone agrees that boats are best out of the water, certainly compared to sitting in slips with doubled dock lines. (Our own Blue Angel remains at Composite Yachts in Trappe, MD, for this very reason. Owner Lewis Hardy told me they would be done with the new paint job and detailing by now. But we are not feeling the need to bring her home to Annapolis to sit in a lift if there is ANY chance Hurricane Irma and its storm surge can swing up to the Mid Atlantic. I can wait another week with her safely inside a building.)

Now look at the photo below. (I believe credit for the photo goes to Marie Dufour.) The image shows a different approach to jack stands. This is in Fiji before they got hit by a big storm a couple of years ago. Called cyclone pits, these trenches are made by earth moving equipment and boats placed in the trenches. The hull sits on the ground with its keel in the slotted trench. Held captive, the boat can't roll over, and there are no jack stands to fail. High winds can't topple a row of boats like dominoes, either.

Obviously the land management is completely different from the typical U.S. yard, and while I am not saying it is a better system, I thought it was a neat way to secure boats in a blow. And no need for ladders.

Happy Labor Day and have a great week! Hopefully the storm track of Hurricane Irma will go away from land, although at this point it seems the Bahamas will not avoid its path.

Cyclone pits.jpg