Weathering the Snowpocalypse


As a record setting 29.2 inches of snow fell in Baltimore, MD, where we are docked, only around 1 foot accumulated on the deck. Most of the snow was swept off the deck as quickly as it landed, since the winds are much stronger on the water. The snow began on Friday afternoon, and continued all the way into the early hours of Sunday. This meant we stayed inside (except for when I went to fix Tooth) during the whole storm. 

The deck has interesting snow drifts that accumulated in the windshadows of the sail bags and rigging. The leeward lifeline net also helped to hold in a lot of snow, making and interesting looking snow drift that tried to creep over the side of Wisdom. 

Windpuff had its own snow formation on its deck.

During the storm with its strong winds and constant whiteout conditions, we watched movies, cooked delicious meals, and Maddie painted while I worked on reconditioning an old bilge pump. We were cooped up inside for over a day, but we enjoyed our time together with no distractions and every moment focused on what we wanted to do.

There were no social obligations and neither of us had to go to work, we simply stayed inside with each other as the storm blew past. We woke up when we wanted to, and went to sleep when we felt tired. It felt like cruising again: doing what you want, when you want, without a care in the world.

For dinner on Saturday, I had the bright idea of cooking lamb chops on the grill. The cockpit was completely filled with snow; luckily I had a pretty good idea where things were so I wouldn't step on anything important. I carefully made my way through the deep snow to dig out the grill and bring it into a hole I dug near the companionway. They were the best lamb chops ever!

When Sunday rolled around and the snow had stopped, we went outside to explore. The snow accumulations highlighted the importance of a heavy displacement boat. Our boats, Wisdom and Windpuff were pushed down 1 inch past their scum lines. A very light displacement catamaran however, had a bunch of snow on his forward deck and it completely changed his attitude. His rudders were out 6 inches higher than their scum lines and his bow was sunken down well below his boot stripe. Other light displacement sailboats were down nearly to the tops of their boot stripes. While I don't think one should plan their cruising boat based on how much snow they can carry, I do think it is important to think about weight distribution when you load up all of your belongings.

A light displacement sailboat will be much more sensitive to where you place your stores and cargo, where a heavy displacement sailboat wont really care too much. Anywhere is fine, if it's not it will list just a little bit, but nothing too dramatic.

We also checked on Tooth to see how he fared right side up. Just fine actually! There was a tiny bit of snow in his hull, nothing more than a few cup fulls of water. I guess I should have left him right side up to begin with. You live and you learn, that's a huge part of boating. They say smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. Be wise and leave your dinghy right side up on an exposed pier during a blizzard, the snow will blow right out of it. 

After that we went into town to explore the snow covered wasteland. It turns out that a bunch of the other liveaboards in the marina had the same idea, so we all went out for brunch.

Walking around town made me appreciate living on a boat even more. People were digging their cars out of the giant mountains of snow, hoping that no one would steal their dugout parking spot. Sidewalks were piled high as people tried to shovel their ways to freedom. Meanwhile on the boat, the piers were blown clean by the wind and the little bit of snow that did accumulate was minor and easily traversed without much effort. 

On shore, we saw a bunch of tiny little foot prints and wondered if it was from a tiny little doggy, or something else.

Turns out they were rat prints leading to the dumpster, oh Baltimore.

We also had some fun with the snow. I was riding my bike around (snow biking is just like downhill biking in muddy conditions, you slip and slide around and it's all good fun) and then we had some fun with the huge snow piles.

Maddie's car is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Staying warm inside a well built sailboat during the blizzard was very relaxing. The whole world went away with the snow and we were living in our little bubble of warmth and happiness for a few days with no interruptions and no distractions.