BVI marina tests hurricane cradles - Soundings Online

BVI marina tests hurricane cradles

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The storm-storage system secures keelboats in steel cradles screwed into the ground

The storm-storage system secures keelboats in steel cradles screwed into the ground

As tropical storm Jeanne skirted the British Virgin Islands in September, Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola tested a new hurricane-resistant storage system that it is using to secure yachts on its uplands.

The marina is storing keelboats on galvanized steel cradles, strapping them to the cradles with nylon webbing and securing the cradles to helical anchors screwed 6 to 8 feet into the ground. The system is designed to keep both cradle and boat from tipping over in high winds.

“The hurricane cradles are really quite something,” says Miles Sutherland-Pilch, manager of the marina, largest in the British Virgin Islands, with storage for 200 boats in the water and 250 on the hard.

Jeanne wasn’t the most severe test. Not yet a hurricane when it hit, the storm dumped a lot of rain on the area and whipped the marina with some gusty winds, but nothing substantial, Sutherland-Pilch says.

The cradles, designed for the marina by Britain-based Yacht Leg and Cradle Co., held up fine, he says. Nanny Cay tested a prototypical system for three years before introducing it commercially this season.

Insurer Pantaenius, which writes policies for many of the European yachts that winter in the Caribbean, has enough confidence in the hurricane cradles that it is allowing its insureds to keep their boats in the Nanny Cay yard in one of those cradles from July 1 to Nov. 15 during hurricane season. This, even though the British Virgin Islands are in the so-called Caribbean Named Windstorm Exclusion Area. Insurance companies don’t normally cover boats in that area during hurricane season.

The cradles are designed for keelboats from 40 to 65 feet, and sailboats secured in the cradles must have their masts stepped. Sutherland-Pilch says the marina used 10 of the cradles this past season, and plans to use more in the 2005 hurricane season as demand dictates.

The marina charges $1,500 a season over and above normal storage fees for a hurricane cradle. Next season, Nanny Cay expects to offer hurricane storage for catamarans as well. The cats will sit on blocks with webbing straps securing the hulls to helical anchors.

Sutherland-Pilch says the cost to the yacht owner is offset by money saved not having to move a yacht outside the exclusion zone — for example, to Europe, the United States, Grenada or Trinidad — during hurricane season.

In September, Hurricane Ivan pounded Grenada, usually considered a safe haven, tearing up many of the boats stored there for the season. While Ivan was bashing Grenada, Sutherland-Pilch says two owners with boats in Trinidad called to ask about his hurricane cradles. www. nannycay.com n

The storm-storage system secures keelboats in steel cradles screwed into the ground

As tropical storm Jeanne skirted the British Virgin Islands in September, Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola tested a new hurricane-resistant storage system that it is using to secure yachts on its uplands.

The marina is storing keelboats on galvanized steel cradles, strapping them to the cradles with nylon webbing and securing the cradles to helical anchors screwed 6 to 8 feet into the ground. The system is designed to keep both cradle and boat from tipping over in high winds.

“The hurricane cradles are really quite something,” says Miles Sutherland-Pilch, manager of the marina, largest in the British Virgin Islands, with storage for 200 boats in the water and 250 on the hard.

Jeanne wasn’t the most severe test. Not yet a hurricane when it hit, the storm dumped a lot of rain on the area and whipped the marina with some gusty winds, but nothing substantial, Sutherland-Pilch says.

The cradles, designed for the marina by Britain-based Yacht Leg and Cradle Co., held up fine, he says. Nanny Cay tested a prototypical system for three years before introducing it commercially this season.

Insurer Pantaenius, which writes policies for many of the European yachts that winter in the Caribbean, has enough confidence in the hurricane cradles that it is allowing its insureds to keep their boats in the Nanny Cay yard in one of those cradles from July 1 to Nov. 15 during hurricane season. This, even though the British Virgin Islands are in the so-called Caribbean Named Windstorm Exclusion Area. Insurance companies don’t normally cover boats in that area during hurricane season.

The cradles are designed for keelboats from 40 to 65 feet, and sailboats secured in the cradles must have their masts stepped. Sutherland-Pilch says the marina used 10 of the cradles this past season, and plans to use more in the 2005 hurricane season as demand dictates.

The marina charges $1,500 a season over and above normal storage fees for a hurricane cradle. Next season, Nanny Cay expects to offer hurricane storage for catamarans as well. The cats will sit on blocks with webbing straps securing the hulls to helical anchors.

Sutherland-Pilch says the cost to the yacht owner is offset by money saved not having to move a yacht outside the exclusion zone — for example, to Europe, the United States, Grenada or Trinidad — during hurricane season.

In September, Hurricane Ivan pounded Grenada, usually considered a safe haven, tearing up many of the boats stored there for the season. While Ivan was bashing Grenada, Sutherland-Pilch says two owners with boats in Trinidad called to ask about his hurricane cradles. www. nannycay.com