Monday, September 10, 2018

Skull Creek: mandatory evacuation

        The Governor of South Carolina ordered a ‘mandatory’ evacuation of all coastal counties.  ‘Mandatory’ isn’t really mandatory.  I suppose there is a legal technically that if such an order is given and you don’t leave the authorities are off the hook.  That is fair.  If I were he I probably would have done the same.  In the north part of the state an evacuation is appropriate.  Here in the south it is not and it would be difficult to decide on a dividing line.
        In any case I am not evacuating.  
        All the information I have seen today shows Hilton Head will not be affected by Florence.  That could change, but as the time to landfall decreases the accuracy of projections increases.  
        For me it has been interesting and educational to observe the computer analyses of the storm for the past week.  Nothing I have seen has changed my belief that no forecasts more than 48 to 72 hours can be trusted.
        Were Florence headed directly for Hilton Head I still would not evacuate, though I would move GANNET from the marina.   Storm surge from Florence may be 20’/6 meters which could lift these docks from the pilings and sent them who knows where.
        My friend, Roger, who lives in nearby Bluffton and has his about 40’ catamaran, TRAVELLER, on a private dock on the May River said if the storm nears he would move her to anchor on the river and that I could anchor GANNET there and wait out the storm with him in his home ashore.  A generous offer I probably would have refused.
        As an aside, Roger built TRAVELLER himself splendidly; he also made her carbon fiber mast.  Roger causes me to consider the false distinction between artist and artisan, as do many of you.   I hesitate for fear I will leave someone out, but I think of three who have built Pathfinders:  Steve and Tom and Rik, and Patrick in Australia, and Doryman in the Pacific Northwest.  All of you have skills that I do not have.  
        The Mississippi artist Walter Anderson said that there is no difference between artist and artisan.  I agree entirely.  I use words.  Some of you use wood.  We both create something from nothing.  To build a boat is to create a poem.
        The aside aside, if Florence were headed directly here I would move GANNET to the west side of Pickney Island and anchor her.   I would expect to be alone there behind a second island to absorb the storm surge.
        On most of my boats I have carried three anchors.  Being weight sensitive, GANNET has only two.  I would set the 10 pound Spade in the direction I expected the strongest wind with all her rode of 20’ of chain and 200’ of ” nylon out and her second anchor, a 15’ Delta, in whatever other direction seemed best, and in the evening pour a crystal glass of Laphroaig and wait.
        I have been in hurricane force winds at least eight times at sea.  I have never been in hurricane force winds in port, much less those of a category four storm.  I hope I never am.  But I must confess to being curious.