How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane
Hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, appear in mid-latitude areas above the surface of relatively warm water in the ocean. They are characterized by very strong spiral winds blowing around the hurricane core, ranging between 20-30 miles in diameter. Besides very strong winds they create extraordinary big waves, causing problems to sailors and coastal populations.
In the Mediterranean, specifically in the Adriatic, there are no such big and powerful weather systems, but there are still some things to warn you about. A sudden meteorological phenomenon characterized by thunders, strong wind, heavy rain and sometimes ice pellets is called nevera. A typical nevera develops as a result of a clash between the cold and the warm air at the fronts of cyclones (low pressure areas). They are easy to notice as the air rises vertically and cumulus clouds form, soon turning into anvil-shaped cumulonimbus clouds. The features are similar to those of tropical hurricanes, but nevera is smaller and lasts shorter.
Precaution for both hurricane and nevera is basically the same. It is always better to avoid them if possible. It is simpler in the Adriatic because nevera is a storm of short duration and can be recognized in time to change the course and avoid it. The sails have to be reefed while all the crew members must wear life vests. If nevera strikes you while you are anchored or close to a buoy, the engines should be turned on and ready to take off immediately. Furthermore, sailor-knives have to be prepared in order to cut the mooring lines.
It is always recommended to leave the anchorage and your berth in the port until nevera passes. An old seafarers pray says “Dear God, may my boat save me from the sea and I will save it from the shore”, meaning that no nevera will last forever and that it is better to sail out and keep away from the shore during the storm.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!