Hurricane Season: A season for planning

The arrival of hurricane season is always a good reminder for boat owners to put together a storm plan.


The arrival of hurricane season is always a good reminder for boat owners to put together a storm plan detailing where and how the boat will be secured should a storm roll through.

Chafe protection for docking and mooring lines is essential for securing a boat ahead of a storm, but boat owners should also be sure to inspect the cleats themselves. The cleats should be beefy enough to handle the task at hand, and they should be properly supported with sturdy, easy-to-inspect backing plates. In addition to ensuring your cleats are structurally sound, its also important to pay attention to line leads. If a line must make a sharp bend at a chock or cleat, the risk of chafe increases significantly, and attaching anti-chafe gear at the bend is imperative.

Also, if your boat will be riding the storm out on a mooring, be sure to inspect the chain, swivels, and pendant on that mooring for wear. At the heart of any storm prep plan that involves anchoring is the ground tackle and how its set. PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo has used the following anchor combination and anchoring system with success in various locations to moor his 41-foot Ericson sloop:

A 45-pound CQR, with 10-millimeter (3/8-inch) all-chain rode, 5/8-inch nylon snubber, and leather anti-chafe gear.

A Paul Luke 75-pound, three- piece fisherman storm anchor, 50-feet of 1⁄2-inch chain, 200-feet of 3⁄4-inch nylon, leather anti-chafe gear (no swivel).

Set the two anchors at about a 60- degree angle, placing the storm anchor toward the worst of the expected wind and sea. Leave enough swinging room to cope with the likely wind shift, which could be as much as 180 degrees.

For more advice on protecting your boat and anchoring gear, check out the ebook Anchor Rode Accessories from Practical Sailor.

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at