A possibly record setting winter storm was fast approaching us and I needed to get home from work to batten everything down; but how do you prepare a sailboat for a blizzard?
The answer is simple, tie everything down on the deck so it doesn't blow away and make sure everything that stays on deck is flat or out of the wind. Larger items can seek refuge in the safety of the cockpit. Snow isn't as big of a problem since the wind will blow it off the deck as quickly as it lands.
The big problems are figuring out how the dinghy Tooth would deal with the snow. I have to pump the water out of him after every rain storm, but snow is a different animal. My concern was the wind blowing all the snow to one side and tipping the sheer strake into the water. This would cause Tooth to fill with water and sink quietly in the blizzard.
As a good dentist, I chose to pull Tooth... out of the water and flip him over on the pier. We have a few liveaboard neighbors here, so I took him over to an empty pier and tied his overturned hull to the cleats available. If he does get moved by the strong forecasted wind, he wont go very far with the short lines I tied him with, or so I thought.
The winds picked up and blew Tooth into the water, luckily landing skeg down. The stern cleat ripped right out of his hull as he remained hanging by his bridled painter. This strong attachment point kept him secured to the pier instead of letting him float away during the blizzard, never to be seen by us again.
I pulled Tooth out of the water once more, but was unable to safely flip him with the raging winds howling through. I looked at him laying there, relatively flat to the dock and figured he would offer less wind resistance as he is, as opposed to flipped over. I just hope a little snow in his hull won't cause too much damage.
I returned to Wisdom to escape the chilling winds and hope that Tooth will fare well. Only time will tell.