2023.11.01 - Storm Ciarán

With Storm Ciarán due to make landfall during the evening and night of 1st November 2023 I kept a careful eye on the weather forecast updates to see how badly or not we would be hit and also how it would affect Naiad.

The day before the expected arrival of the storm with its Violent Storm force 11 gusts I decided that I should go down to Naiad and spend the night on her at the very least since I did not leave her in a condition to survive such winds undamaged. I left as soon as I could aiming to arrive some time after High Water since it was high enough to cover the Strood. I didn't have much daylight so launched the dinghy and rowed out as soon as I could. Before even boarding I sorted out the mooring, which had become twisted, and attached the two additional very think lines that I had just left lying on the foredeck.

Shortly after boarding I realised that I had forgotten to lock the car doors and I had left my travel mug inside. I rowed back to the Hammerhead, walked to the car in the City Road carpark, drove it down to the club carpark which was virtually empty by this time, retrieved the mug, locked the car and went back to Naiad.

I took down the two headsails, rolled them up and stowed them on the port bunk below. The rain had not started by then so they were completely dry. However, that changed shortly after I had stowed the sails so I rigged the cockpit cover, not an easy job from underneath, which gave me the entire cockpit as storage space.

This is what it looked like from inside the cabin looking out. The paddle acts as a ridge pole and prevents the canvas from sagging and allowing rainwater to pool in the middle.

At this time it was only moderately windy and there was virtually no chop. It was also dark and I had the rest of the evening before things became interesting, so I got out my office laptop which I had brought with me since I had something to finish and continued code development using the work smart phone as an Internet HotSpot. I had really good connectivity.

There is not a lot of space in the cabin to be able to take a decent photo, but you can see the top half of the laptop with the heater and portlight beyond. I was able to get a couple of hours work done before reaching a good place to stop.

It was at this point that I realised that Naiad was leaning over as the wind had risen considerably, but because I did not have any visual references I did not notice until I put the laptop away and looked around the cabin to find the lantern hanging at a strange angle.

It is hanging down correctly, it is just the boat that is at an angle. I made myself a cup of tea and once I had drunk that I took a quick look around before lying down on the bunk, fully clothed, for a short sleep. I slept in hour long stretches, getting up and looking around between each nap.

I used the Reolink camera to record the conditions outside. This one is just after 11pm, it is raining sideways and the wind is starting to howl.

The next check was at 00:30 and not much had changed.

The wind was really picking up by this time and you can see how much the cabn is rocking in this short clip.

The wind was starting to get under the canvas and lifting the aft edge. Fortunately the cover is held on with bungee which absorbs the lifting and doesn't strain the canvas too much. I will have to replace the cover shortly, however, as I noticed when I left that it was starting to tear in places. I'll probably bring some canvas patches and sew them on just to keep it going through the Winter.

I kept on checking about every hour until 2am which was almost High Water and meant that we were no longer sheltered by Cobmarsh Island and were feeling the full force of the winds. All was still well at this point so I settled down for a longer nap this time and slept until 5am.

I had the choice to try and get ashore or to stick it out for another day since the forecast indicated that the winds would be much less on 3rd, but as you can see from the above clip, the conditions were not too bad at 06:23 and the rain had just stopped so I hurriedly pack the dinghy and lef the wind blow me ashore. Then it was just a case of driving back home avoiding the floods and fallen branches all along the route.

I was very happy with how well Naiad rode out the storm, and now that she is rigged for stormy weather I will not need to worry about her in the future.