'We are not sure where she'll end up'

Yachting Monthly contributor Kerry Pears has reported from New York harbour, where she and husband John have been forced to leave their liveaboard yacht as Hurricane Sandy approaches.

Kerry and John built Folly, a 40ft Van de Stadt aluminium pilot house sloop, in their evenings and weekends over four and a half years, in Portsmouth. They set sail on a seven-year circumnavigation in 1999 and after returning to the UK, crossed the Atlantic again last year and have cruised the USA’s eastern seaboard this year.

Kerry reports: “This may be our last chance to email before Hurricane Sandy hits. We are conserving our phone energy so may not be back in touch until the expected power outages are over, shops are open again, and Sandy is done with us.

‘Sandy is expected to make landfall as a Cat 1 hurricane this evening, coinciding with spring HW tide, a little south of us on the New Jersey shore.

‘Folly is secured to floating pontoons in Gt Kills Harbour, Staten Island.

‘Unfortunately it looks like the storm surge expected at HW tonight (Mon) may float those pontoons off the pilings that they are attached to, in which case we’re not sure where Folly will end up.

‘She will survive the hurricane force winds, but whether the dock will float off is anybody’s guess, and we wouldn’t be able to get off at that point or even a few hours before, as the shore is considerably lower than the top of the pilings.

‘The marina is relatively new and expensive, and the pilings were made 2ft taller than the exceptional 100-year surge forecast.

‘We were already turned away from other marinas in the protected harbour and didn’t think that we could survive the hurricane force winds without dragging, no matter how many anchors we had out or how big they were.
‘Mandatory evacuation came into force yesterday evening because of expected flooding in the area where Folly is.

‘Because of the expected surge, and flooding, we have left Folly as secure as possible and are now in a motel on high land in Staten Island.

‘How did we end up here? We were heading south from a great visit to Narragansett Bay and Long Island Sound, but saw the hurricane brewing and couldn’t outrun it to get down to the Chesapeake and further south. We realise now that we wouldn’t have been any better off either north or south of where we are, as this storm is so huge.’

Kerry and John managed to find a hotel, where they will sit out the hurricane until the winds have subsided and they can return to a hopefully undamaged Folly.