2010-09-02 / News

Boat yard crews scramble to prepare for hurricane

By Jeff McDonough

A boat is taken from the water at Clark Boatyard. Photo by Jeff McDonough A boat is taken from the water at Clark Boatyard. Photo by Jeff McDonough Jamestown’s four boat yards were bustling with activity on Wednesday morning as weather forecasters were calling for Hurricane Earl to pass east of Conanicut Island sometime Friday night.

Everyone was hoping the eye of the hurricane would go several hundred miles east of Jamestown. That could mean possible tropical force winds for Jamestown.

Gary Clark at Clark Boatyard said they started pulling boats from the water on Monday.

“We’ve been pretty busy. We’ve been going through our hurricane haulout list,” he said as he prepared to take yet another boat out of the water. “We’re monitoring the weather.”

Both small and large boats were being hauled out on the yard’s railway. Clark said extra lines and chafe gear was being used on boats that will remain on their moorings.

Bill Munger of Conanicut Marine Services said his boat yard was following a storm plan that they have used many times before.

“We’re certainly keeping a close eye on the situation,” he said. Some boats were being hauled out of the water. On other boats, sails were being removed to reduce windage and chafe gear was being double checked, he said.

Gangways to the docks at the marina would be removed, but there were no plans to take out the floating docks unless the weather outlook changed, Munger said.

Munger said several boats had already been motored further up the Bay to more protected areas. Boats normally in slips at the marina would be moved out to moorings before the storm arrives, he added.

Jim Archibald at Jamestown Boat Yard was busy on Wednesday setting a large sailboat on its stands as he talked.

“We are going to haul out about 30 boats by the time we’re done,” he said. “About half of those boats will go back into the water. We are limited with the railway on how many boats we can get out of the water.”

Archibald said many boat owners were planning to have their boats hauled after Labor Day, so “the storm just moved it up a little.”

Alison Eichler of Dutch Harbor Boat Yard said, “We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

She said they had sent out information to their customers about what they needed to do to prepare their boats for the storm.

Eichler said she was impressed by the offers from customers who have volunteered to help out at the boat yard.

“That’s what it is all about – people helping each other,” she said.

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