Hurricane Florence: Slow Boat Sailing Interview with SV Banjo Crew

Slow Boat Sailing Interview with SV Banjo

Our home dock is BridgePointe Marina in New Bern, NC, which was hit very hard by the winds and storm surge of Hurricane Florence.  In the days following, we were contacted by Linus Wilson of the Slow Boat Sailing blog.  He wished to discuss our experiences with the storm and our plans aboard Banjo.  Although we are not experienced interviewees, we wanted to share the interview with you.  Also, we are not professional nautical engineers.  Therefore we were unable to comment on some questions.  We did, however, offer our views on just how powerful the conditions were that impacted our home marina.  The opinions expressed in the Slow Boat Sailing interview were our opinions only.

Emergency Response Teams

We mourn for the suffering and loss experienced by so many in New Bern, who also faced flooding and life-threatening conditions.  As for the many law enforcement, and emergency response personnel, we owe you each a debt of gratitude on behalf of everyone in and around New Bern.  You are all heroes of the highest order!  Although Shannon and I were relatively safe during the critical part of the storm, we recognize that each of you were out there risking everything to save lives.

BridgePointe Marina and Hotel Staff

We are so grateful to have such an experienced and professional staff at BridgePointe Marina.  They are the core of having such an incredible community!  Shannon and I believe that their hard work and preparations prevented greater losses, both to boats and to people.  Also, our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Jesse, Brian, Charlie, Frank, and others who selflessly maintained a vigilant watch before, during and after the storm.  We also recognize the hotel staff at BridgePointe Hotel for ensuring the safety and protection of all of their guests.  Many hotel and marina personnel suffered personal losses of homes and vehicles, but remained dedicated to their guest’s safety during Hurricane Florence.

Both the marina and hotel personnel performed admirably, expertly and professionally.  We commend their dedication to protecting both people and property.  Even though all of the vessels were well-secured and prepared by owners and marina personnel, unfortunately many were damaged.  Tragically, several boats in our community were overcome by the power of the winds and storm surge and, therefore, sank.  We are heartbroken for everyone who lost something to the storm.  For anyone who suffered damage or loss, our hearts go out to you.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.  Luckily, to our knowledge, no one was seriously injured. We are eternally grateful that everyone survived.

SV Banjo Prep

SV Banjo rode out the storm in a near-by cove which offered good wind protection.  After discovering there was not enough time to be hauled out, a friend recommended this particular “hurricane hole.”  We anchored and secured Banjo using an 85-lb Mantus Anchor and 3/8″ G-40 High Test Chain.  If you are interested in Mantus Anchors, please visit them here.  In the interest of full disclosure, we are members of Mantus’ affiliate program because we love and highly recommend their products.  Check them out and let us know what you think.

We also used a 35-lb Bruce Anchor on 5/16″ G-40 High Test Chain on a “Vee”-type Bahama Mooring for additional protection.  Having never prepared a vessel for tropical storm and/or hurricane conditions, we leveraged a lot of advice by other boaters in our area.  Thank you all so much for offering suggestions and experience.  We are so grateful to y’all.

Additional Preparations

We removed our head-sail, and tightly lashed our main-sail inside its sail bag.  Realizing the seriousness of the storm, we removed practically everything from Banjo.  Fortunately, a cruiser friend allowed us to stay with him in town.  We moved all of our equipment and personal effects trying to save everything we could.  Banjo’s wind generator was removed.  All hatches, companionways and portlights were secured.  We turned off all of the boat’s electrical systems, except for the bilge pumps.  Shannon and I closed almost all sea-cocks; leaving only drainage valves from deck and the main engine valve.  We removed most of the electronics and all perishables.  Anything that could be damaged or lost was removed.  We initially lined the rails with fenders, but was advised to remove them as it would be additional windage.  We heavily applied chafe protection everywhere.

Post-Storm Dock Videos

After the storm, we were asked to gather video of the aftermath at both BridgePointe Marina and at Duck Creek Marina & Boatyard.  Also to show visitors the dangerous state of the docks after impact.  The video was primarily to dissuade anyone from attempting to visit until safety was reestablished.  Several owners also contacted us requesting photos and video.  Using our footage, they would be able to begin communication with their insurance companies.  The Slow Boat Sailing Blog reproduced some of the footage in their video with our permission.  It shows the destructive power experienced by New Bern, BridgePointe Marina and Duck Creek during Hurricane Florence.

The interview and footage from the Slow Boat Sailing Blog can be seen below or on their website.  The original footage can be found on the Sailing Banjo Blog or on our YouTube Channel.  We plan to upload additional footage as time permits.  We wanted to help, even if only to document the impact of Hurricane Florence in New Bern.  Meanwhile, we also hope the videos will allow those who suffered loss to help minimize time required for recovery.

Thanks to Linus of Slow Boat Sailing for taking time to help tell the story.  And to all of the first-responders, law enforcement, emergency services, marina & hotel staff, & utility services personnel, we thank you!  Your rapid response was incredible.  To all of the New Bern Community, we have been overwhelmed by the efforts of volunteers and the out-pouring of community support.  It is truly awesome to witness so many people stepping up to help each other recover.


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