Latitude 38 January 2022

Page 60

CLEAR THE DECKS, BATTEN THE HATCHES! The October 'Atmospheric Bomb' storm wreaked havoc across the Bay Area, with damage to boats and waterfront infrastructure. Mary SwiftSwan of Afterguard Sailing Academy in Oakland spoke to the USCG and various harbormasters to survey the damage along the Bay Area's waterfront, which included 18 boats destroyed or reported with damage, one mystery-slick trace, and one helped with no damage — though actual numbers could be much higher. Additionally, she reports the dramatic grounding, the rescue of the crew, and the loss of a fleet boat during the storm. We will post her winter storm prep checklist and lessons learned on for everyone's reference.



all 2021's first big storm on October 24 was a major weather event — an "atmospheric river combined with a bomb cyclone." The unpredicted hurricaneforce winds were so strong that most rescue teams could not go out during the storm itself. The morning winds, predicted to be in the 20s, were recorded at 40 kt gusting to 60 kt, combined with a strong flood current, and the afternoon/evening winds were even stronger. Many boats suffered. Three were wrecked when pushed onto lee shores: a 40-ft sailboat and 20-ft powerboat had been at anchor in Richardson Bay, and a 35-ft sailboat was underway trying to get to a safe harbor but was pushed onto Brooks Island. A 28-ft powerboat sank, and a 38- to 40-ft houseboat capsized in the hard-hit Richardson Bay anchorage. Two boats rafted at anchor, also in Richardson Bay, were partly submerged. A vessel in Belvedere Cove was reported having sunk at its dock. Vessels partly submerged that created oil sheens included one each at three peninsula marinas and one at Alameda Marina.

Boats sunk in their slips and were driven ashore all around the Bay. 0AGE s Latitude

38 s *ANUARY

Another oil sheen was observed at Pier 59 in Oakland. If there was a boat that sank, no sign of the boat was found. A vessel was seen adrift in the Oakland Estuary near Clinton Basin (formerly Fifth Avenue Marina) and another near Sacramento International Airport. Two vessels underway were pushed aground, one near Emeryville and the other in the Richmond Channel. A San Francisco water taxi capsized. A fully submerged vessel was reported showing only a mast by Southeast Farallon Island. The USCG aided a boat underway to get to a safe harbor. Angel Island suffered damage when several trees were blown over, bringing down power lines. The outer docks were damaged and moorings changed position. When the rain stopped on Monday, October 25, live power lines lying on the ground resulted in a one-acre fire. The Richmond inner-channel marina suffered a broken finger, sending boats that had been docked careening into Svendsen's Bay Marine. At Treasure Isle Marina, a key piling was sheared off due to high winds. Boats in the anchorage were mostly on one anchor, and dragged. A finger broke loose at the North 2 Basin in Oakland, keeping people very busy catching and securing boats. The morning Vallejo Ferry tried one run, then all the Bay ferry service was shut down. Mark Manes of the Bar Pilots reported five container ships had dragged at anchor. All harbormasters contacted reported they (and staff, if able to be called to duty) were very busy rescuing boats by retying, setting fenders, pumping out, securing equipment and attempting to save roller furling sails on boats throughout the day and into the night. Bill of Schoonmaker Point Marina was 'on it' through the night, managing to keep his boats from becoming major problems in that harbor. There is much to be learned from what happened to boats and marinas from this event to keep people and vessels safer for the 2022 season's storms headed our way. An East Coast publication described October's storm as the worst storm to hit the area in a quarter century. The local paper, Marin Independent Journal, reported the storm as the worst in two years. These storms are more common than the national news knows. That was in October. The winter storm season

is normally late December to late February. It's a reminder for all to prepare their boats, to check them monthly, and to expect the unexpected. The storms have started to roll through. Per Maria at Parker Diving Services, their rescue team typically recovers many boats in their slips during winter through June. Leaves and other small debris in the scuppers are a prime culprit to sink a boat. Another is an open head intake thru-hull. If a powerboat is sitting low in the water, strong winds can heel the boat till it takes on water in large exhaust openings. Charged batteries are needed to power auto bilge pumps. If instruments are left on and the boat is not plugged in, the battery can deplete in one week. Some plug in shorepower and forget to turn on the switch at the dock box or check to see the battery charger is on and working, or that the float switch is working. Bilge lines get clogged with debris from the bilge and can't evacuate water. If your boat leaks, put on a solid, well-secured tarp to keep water out. Phil of TowBoatUS, Maria of Parker Diving and Kevin Fong of the USCG all agree that most boats get into trouble from December to June. December to March from not being ready for storms. April to June from not doing full-service checks on engines, electrical systems and operation equipment like sails, standing and running rigging, and dry lube for all blocks. Give the boat a full once-over before going sailing if it has been a while. Too many sailors cast off too quickly, only to find themselves at the mercy of wind and current. Taking care of the boat during the slow months is key.

Several boats were blown ashore from Richardson Bay landing in Tiburon.