Riders on the Storm

It is 9 a.m. on a gray Tuesday. I am standing on our dock at City Island in the Bronx, New York, surveying my handiwork, sipping hot coffee to assuage the gnawing tension. I have just finished preparing my sturdy boat and home, Windbird, to ride out a hurricane on a 40-year-old dock in an exposed marina. The storm is not to arrive for a few hours yet, but a freshening salty breeze and foreboding smudge on the southern horizon foretell its coming. I check and double-check the braided dock lines, which are fitted with rubber snubbers and anti-chafe gear, spider-webbed between strong points on the boat and various dock cleats of admittedly questionable integrity. Fenders are arrayed on the leeward side of the hull. I’ve removed our dodger and Bimini canvas and lashed the framework in place. I cut short a family vacation and flew into LaGuardia Airport yesterday afternoon to storm-prep the boat. With Dawn absent and me working singlehanded, I decided to leave the headsails in place on their furlers. I hope that wasn’t a mistake.

When we from Florida to New York City this spring, it was partly so that I could fly out of my new base’s airports of Kennedy (KJFK), LaGuardia (KLGA) and Newark (KEWR) without commuting—but also to get out of the way of tropical cyclones like this one. Yet this is the second named storm to hit New York this year, and it’s only the beginning of August. Isaias is also the ninth Atlantic cyclone of the season, which in a typical year would not arrive until October. The times—they are a-changin’.

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