'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Long time, no news, but now…



There’s no other word that can summon up the same visceral combination of terror, anxiety and pure fretting in a sailor. We’d do almost anything to avoid dealing with the subject – except we didn’t.

“Anything” would have been bringing Sionna back north, or even not having taken her south in the first place.  But instead we DID take her south, and then we left her there, in a semi-tropical area known for it’s potential for hosting nature’s most destructive weather systems.

What were we thinking?!  Well, we were thinking warm. We were thinking adventure. We were thinking that you only live once. We were remembering that quote: “Ships are safe inside the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” (Source unknown)

Hurricane Irma has, as of this morning, intensified to a Category 5 storm, the strongest level. Anything she encounters at that level – whether at sea or ashore – is extremely unlikely to survive unless it was constructed for precisely that purpose.  

As of this morning, the “spaghetti chart” showing Irma’s likely paths has begun to coalesce into a narrow band of probability which takes the storm across the Florida Keys and on to south Florida, and north.

And yes, “on north” is where Sionna is stored. 

So we’re fretting about our floating home, yes, but we’ve also got dozens of friends in her path, spread out from the Caribbean islands of the Lesser Antilles all the way to Georgia on the US east coast.  If Irma misses us, she may hit them harder, and if she spares them, she could devastate us. So what do we hope for?

I guess we hope for the best, for all concerned.  We did everything we could to prepare the boat for just this before we left Florida, and I just got a call from the boat yard down in Florida reassuring me that – yes indeed, they did install hurricane straps just after we left, and they’re busy checking boats and snugging tie-downs even as we speak.  

Fingers crossed and prayers to the IS said, we wait. Batten down the hatches, my friends. We’re thinking of you.

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

6 thoughts on “Long time, no news, but now…

  1. Your going to be fine with the straps on. Something I did after a near disaster with a lot of water is put in a garboard drain about halfway up the keel. I remove that when storing on the hard. When I first bought the boat it was stored in a yard that had quite a few oak trees around it. Little did I know when I left it unattended that all those leaves were slowly falling in the cockpit and clogging the scupppers. The result was water running through my companionway. When I returned to the boat I found water 1 inch from the floor boards ( so no damage done) however there was a lot of wiring that runs from the galley, under the floor to the head and that was all underwater. No longer an issue with that plug out.


    • Interestingly, Sionna has had a drain at the bottom of the bilge for as long as anyone involved can remember – a big bronze plug we removed each time we hauled her – including where she is now.
      As for this storm, she’ll probably be fine. We HOPE she’ll be fine. The current models are depressing in that they show the storm making a near direct hit on the area where our boat is, but encouraging in that they show the storm weakening with landfall AND moving much faster when it passes us – meaning the wind will have less time to do it’s nasty work of destabilizing boats. I only wish we could be sure that the boats surrounding ours have taken as much care as we have! That’s a wild card.


  2. Not sure what to say except hang in there. Hopefully, Sionna will be untouched by Irma.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ll include you and the Sionna in out thoughts and prayers along with all of our relatives and friends on the west coast of Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

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