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While it appears that Tropical Depression 5, formerly known as Invest 99, will miss us by a comfortable margin to the north, I believe this is only due to the fact that Rebecca and I, and our nearby friends, spent a good chunk of yesterday stripping our boats.

It was interesting to us to see the different levels of preparation that were going on yesterday. While the storm’s path was still very much uncertain, with projections having it track everywhere from Trinidad to Martinique to right over top of us, many people chose to leave their boats with full canvas rigged. Perhaps they either believed that they could quickly take it all down today when the storm’s path was more certain, or they just didn’t believe that it would hit us at all. Regardless, it caused a bit of dissension between those storm-prepping their boats and those in the wait-and-see camp, and at least one cruiser in a neighboring bay got on the radio to voice his concerns. The thing is, if a storm does hit, the boats which have not been properly secured can easily cause damage to even the most protected vessels nearby.

Today on the radio net, one old cruiser went so far as to say that if the “more experienced” cruisers weren’t stripping sails, perhaps others shouldn’t be either. The net controller quickly cut that conversation off knowing that it was about to turn ugly. LOL

Just about everything removed from the deck or secured. Take note insurance company!!!

Anyway, ZTC is now naked and even though this weekend’s forecasted disturbance may not impart the drama that some of us thought it might, I think we’ll leave the sails down for the time being as there are still a couple of other weather “blobs” waiting in the wings which could affect us in the days to come.

On a related topic, I found it interesting (amazing, really) to note that some cruisers here seem to have no source for weather info beyond what they can glean from VHF radio traffic. As accurate weather info is one of the most important things for sailors, I wonder how is it possible that they could have made it this far operating like that and also, just what do they do in islands where such info is not readily shared?


  1. Glad to hear that Invest 99 will skirt you guys. We haven’t had much hurricane activity over here in the Sea of Cortez….but the season is still young! (oh, and your boat looks beautiful naked!)

    Katie and Mark

  2. Please to hear the storm should be avoiding you! There must’ve been a lot of time and effort gone into getting her naked, not to mention the space all that gear would take up inside. My partner and I are new to the boating life and would be in the prep prep prep camp and then double check the prep. The wait-and-see approach stresses me out, so being prepared is the antidote. We’re sailing newbies though and haven’t encountered any bad weather yet, I hope we have a lot more experience under our belts before we do. Good luck for the next few days.

    • Thank you. We have been in a 50-60 knot squall (at anchor) and would not like to have a bunch of loose stuff on deck during any extended winds of that magnitude.

  3. I wonder if they’ve ever heard the old adage: Better to be safe than sorry?

    It seems to me that common sense really should be called uncommon sense as it’s becoming rarer by the year.

  4. Better to be safe my friend… we were often the only ones stripping and skipping in similar situations. And really what was the point of that fella on the radio criticizing you all? Children!

    As for the radio and weather… we were one of those cruisers way back when. We were young and broke and decided that since we were cruising grounds that were (a) well covered by civilization (other cruisers, land based places to catch a forecast) and (b) not making a passage more than 2 days long hopping from here to there that we’d be fine with just a VHF radio and a little weather fax receiver as a back up. And we were. Of course there was no wifi back then, even on shore. But people had other fancy gadgets to get forecasts and we relied on the cruising community and the kindness of strangers to get the forecasts.

    Today it’s much easier and affordable methinks to set yourself up for weather… but ya never know. We gave up lots of “must haves” our first time out because we wanted to go cruising rather than spend another year or two saving for those things (spinnaker, water maker, bigger better dinghy and outboard, SSB, hot water, windlass, etc etc)

    • I agree that it is definitely easier these days. With a 40$ Alfa Wif-Fi amp one can get internet access, and thus accurate and up-to-date weather info, in virtually every island from Grenada to the USA.

  5. So glad to read you’re not likely to take a direct hit from Tropical Depression 5! Your posts about weather, weather preparedness & related nomenclature (cyclone, tropical storm, hurricane, etc) have been informative and thought provoking. Thanks for that. And I agree with Katie & Mark: your boat looks gorgeous naked. 🙂

  6. Oh the boat is naked, I thought, never mind 🙂 Glad it’s passing north of Grenada, but we have lots of friends on the north too

  7. Points in the Black Box….

    It rarely hurts to err on the side of caution. Stripping the sails is certain to cost you a few hours of free time. Leaving them up might cost you the sails, and on some boats they add enough windage to significantly increase the risk to the boat. I’d say you made the right call, even if the storm does miss you.

    As for the boats in the anchorage that don’t prep for a storm. You certainly have a moral obligation, and you may have a legal (according to your insurance company) obligation, to properly prep your vessel so as to minimize the risk of damaging someone else’s boat if the storm hits. If you don’t prepare, and you drag into another vessel, expect to be thoroughly reamed out by a very peeved insurance adjuster.

  8. Hey Mike, glad you guys are taking the safe and conservative approach, I know that is what we would do. As we are still in the learning stage of not yet cruising, tell me what you do for weather forcasting. What resources do you use?


    • We primarily acquire our weather info from varies websites on the internet. In the case of this storm, our friend who is a Chris Parker subscriber has been sharing with me his take on the situation. We also have a SSB radio and when in areas where we can hear him, we listen to Chris Parker’s radio broadcast. We did this every day when in the Bahamas!

  9. If You take an umbrella with You it most probably won’t rain :).

    I have been a couple a times in a department store, when the alarms have gone on. The first was at lunch time and people just kept eating. The other rang when I was trying on clothes in a fitting room. I put on my clothes and left, amazed about the fact not anybody else seemed to care (am I in candid camera or something?).
    I came back after a while and asked about the alarm. It was a false both times and it was announced form loudspeakers later on.
    I guess I should be happy to get out before the “stampede” starts when the alarm is for real.

  10. Hi Rebecca and Mike,
    It is difficult to be watching the weather and storm conditions from Iowa and wondering how S/V Just Drifting will fair in the Tropical Storm winds on the mooring. Seems like the earth is having her extreme behavior as we are also experiencing a severe drought here and the crops are burning up. We are going on the hope and the prayer that Grenada will be spared. Glad to see that Zero to Cruising is prepared for the storm. Will check in again as we follow it’s progress and hope to be back soon.
    Maureen and Wade

    • I just sent you guys an email. Grenada will fortunately be spared the lion’s share of this weather mess so Just Drifting will be Just Fine. Don’t stress about ti. 🙂

  11. I like your approach to life and boating.
    You should have started your blog 10 years ago. That’s when I left New York headed for Portugal with a handheld GPS, a crinkly chart of the whole North Atlantic, without so much as having checked the weather forecast in weeks and a hairy chest!! Got clobbered by a storm in the Gulf Stream…and I’m pretty sure I lost some hair.
    You’re one the best and most prolific writers running a cruising blog. Boggles me how you dedicated your time to martial arts and yet mastered the art of writing.
    And you naked boat ain’t bad either.

  12. Hi from Kingston.

    Just linked to your site from Harts at Sea today. Imagine my surprise when I read that you hadn’t sailed from somewhere in the states but from right here in Kingston, Ontario. Cool. Would love to do what you two are doing but won’t happen for a couple of years. I’m now a follower and will look forward to your posts.

  13. Looking at the caribean sat live, all of you in Grenada and all the cruisers in various out lying islands, all of you stay safe please.

  14. I am happy Ernesto wasn’t too much of a problem for you. He does look like he is heading our way in the Gulf of Mexico though. Plus Invest 91l may make it’s way into the gulf as well.

    We may be stripping our boat very soon! I never saw her naked before! lol.

    You two stay safe. The season is really just getting started. Ugh….


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