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  • Sailing is all about the Weather.

    Big into the exploration of Atlantic Hurricanes since Katrina came uninvited into his world, James (Jim) Gurley (JamesG161) has followed every Tropical Storm birthed in Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean waters since. Being a boater, he knows that we often need more time to prepare than we get from the TV weather folk. Jim relies on the science of storm development to share early warning info with friends and fellow boaters.

    Early in 2018, Jim and John Shepard, (JSSailem) started to chat about the weather data available. John asked Jim to help forecast Pacific NW storms, and this morphed into discussions on weather forecasting.

    For John, sailing in the PNW is sometimes hit and miss. One day is ugly, then a string of beautiful days but no wind, followed by a series of blue-sky days and 12 knot breezes. Being ready for those great sailing days means you need to look to the Pacific Ocean and what is brewing. John has been into Pacific NW Weather since the 1970’s when his first PNW November storm hit bringing more than 40 days and 40 nights of continual rain.

    Together we want to share information, new APPs, safety, and thoughts about letting the weather help you. Identify some of the resources for sailors and help prepare you for your next sailboat outing.

    It is far better to go out on the water knowing what to expect in weather terms, than to be out on the water and see dark ominous clouds suddenly appear, unprepared.


Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Below is a list of ideas, generated by SBO members, to help boat owners prepare for storms. If you have additional suggestions we encourage you to share.

They will be added to this list as updates occur. Please check back often!

* indicates a SBO Member contribution.

  1. Check you boat lines for Hurricane strength.
  2. Fuel your boat
  3. Charge your batteries
  4. Batten down all hatches
  5. Empty Hold tanks
  6. Check your auxiliary power
  7. Secure all seacocks
  8. Verify your bilge pump.
  9. Triple wrap your sheets around your head sail furling, alternatively, remove and store your sail, or use a sail storm sleeve to cover your sail.
  10. Check for Chafe on all lines
  11. Prevent boom from swinging
  12. Check Topping lift lines
  13. Store solar panels
  14. Wave goodbye to your Bimini or dodger, if not removed.[* Don S/V ILLusion]
  15. Here's another one: Use sail ties to secure the sail pack to the boom.[* kappykaplan]
  16. Remember when securing your boat use knots that can be easily removed after the storm passes. Or you will be cutting the lines to get the boat free from those granny knots. [* jssailem]
  17. Double the lines. I would use longer nylon 3 strand to the furthest points possible. Adjust them so they stretch before the dacron lines fetch up. That will dampen the shock loading of the less stretchy dacron. [* shemandr]
  18. Remove dink and dink outboard. [*shemandr]
  19. Extra fenders and/or fender boards. [*shemandr]
  20. Move the away from the dock bulkhead. [*shemandr]
  21. Inspect floating dock hardware. [*shemandr]
  22. Check that Dock Bollards are tall enough to address Storm Surge/Storm Tide.
  23. Take pictures of your boat and the prep you did. [*shemandr]
  24. Definitely take off all sails and canvas. In hurricane winds, they add enormous windage.[*David in Sandusky]
  25. Check the boats around you. Can they get to you? Have they been prepped? [* Sailm8]
  26. How secure are your pilings? We thought ours were good but turned out they were not sunk into solid bottom. [* Sailm8]
  27. remove life slings, grills and other things that may be hanging off the pulpits. [* Ward H]
  28. If you’re thinking about evacuating, stop thinking and do it[* Bill19233]
  29. We leave on 2 LED cabin lights so others might see if our boat was taking on water. [* JamesG161]
  30. Emptying your holding tank will make post storm clean up easier.

Ideas by: Jim and John the weather guys...

Links to previous threads

Last edited 26 AUG 2021
May 17, 2004
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Good list. I might add:
- Know your insurance company’s policy on haul outs for named storms. For example ours covers 50% of the cost of haul-out and re-launching. That might be the safest option (though you still need to do many of the other things on the list like removing canvas and sails.
- Make sure other random things are secured for high winds, like instrument covers and wheel/pedestal covers.

I’m not a fan of just triple wrapping headsail sheets for big prolonged storms. Seems like too often a sail will find a way to open up anyway.
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
I would add if you are in a marina, to look at your neighboring boats for adequacy of preparations. If you know the owner you may and he has authorized you to come aboard or you feel he may not object you can add a few lines to better secure it. If you don't know the owner then notify the marina office for them to secure the boat. Another important thing is to give ample slack to the lines to account for a tidal surge well above or below normal. Use the spring lines to hold the boat in position but allow it to come up or down. Remove the sails, do not try to tie them. Remove Biminis and dodgers including collapsing the frames. Secure the anchors, remove them or throw them in the water. MAKE SURE INSURANCE PREMIUMS ARE CURRENT.