On Friday 18th of February, it was announced in the Netherlands that a storm of at least 8 Bft would hit inland and especially the Dutch coast. For us with the catamaran in the inner old harbor of Stavoren, we would be quite sheltered, but still, we had to take precautionary measures to keep the boat safe.
3 most important precautionary measures
1. Extra lines from the boat to the pontoon
Normally we use 2 lines to connect the boat to the jetty. Now we used 4 lines and also loosen them a bit, so the boat would have some room to move with wind gusts. The best position for the boat in this kind of weather if the wind blows the boat from the jetty and not to the jetty (too much pressure on the fenders), so we moved the boat to a different position in the harbor to another jetty.
2. Use lashing straps to fasten solar panels
The wind would blow from West/South West, so when we moved the boat to another jetty, also the angle that the wind would blow onto the solar panels was important. We made sure the biggest blow would be on the front part and not the back part. Because the 5 solar panels are at connected to the back of our ship with a stainless steel rack. The rack has quite a surface in total. We lowered the solar panels, so the angle would be better with this kind of wind and there would be less risk of the wind picking up the solar panels. To be extra sure, we used lashing straps, so the rack couldn’t be lifted up by the wind. Same for the dinghy, we also used lashing straps to keep this little boat in a stable position at the back of the boat above the water.
3. Loose parts on the boat
Like in a garden, sometimes garden furniture should be moved into the barn, away from the wind. We also check all loose items on the boat (cushions, poufs, shutters should be closed, etc) to either secure them or bring them inside the boat.
During that Friday morning, it took us about 3 hours to organize all this (starting the boat, go to another jetty, reconnecting power to the boat, arranging all the lines, lowering and strapping the solar panels, checking and securing loose items, etc).
And we were not the only ones busy doing this, we saw many boat owners busy on and around their boats. We saw one of the fisherman in the harbor being interviewed by local television (Omrop Fryslân) about all the precautionary measures he took.
At 14.00u the wind was picking up to 40 knots (6 Bft) and at its peak it was 74 knots, which is 133 km/hour, which equals at least 12 Bft. And this is in a sheltered harbor! After midnight the wind went back again to 40 knots.
We have had no damage to our boat. Luckily. Sometimes the wind gusts were so strong, we feared a bit for the tent which encloses the seating area of the boat. The wind really was beating on that area of the boat.
And Saterdaymorning 19th of February, the sun was shining again, 20 knots (4 Bft), beautiful blue sky, like nothing happened! We were thankful to be sheltered in the Stavoren harbor, because being at open sea would have been a problem with 12 Bft!