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Mighty Storms Ravage Bay Area

Looking south towards Angel Island from the Corinthian YC race deck: At high tide the storm surge could barely be contained.

latitude/John A.
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The full force of Mother Nature’s fury was felt throughout the San Francisco Bay Area last Friday and Saturday as torrential rains and hurricane-force winds lashed the region.

Lightweight daysailers were easily toppled all over the region.

latitude/John A.
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Ashore, as roadways flooded, trees toppled into powerlines and semi tractor-trailers were tossed onto their sides atop Bay Area bridges, boaters throughout the region scrambled to save boats from storm-inflicted damage. At the height of Friday’s storm, the Richardson Bay anchorage, which lies between Sausalito and Belvedere, was a teaming cauldron of chaos, with sustained SW winds over 60 knots and gusts into the 70s. Local diver Todd Estrella was one of several local mariners who were attempting to keep moored boats from washing ashore. At some point, while working another rescuer, their rescue boat became unattached from a tug they were aboard while trying to save it. According to Todd’s brother, the dinghy Todd jumped into to go after the rescue boat capsized. He held onto the side for 45 minutes before being pulled from the water. Tragically, he later died in a Marin hospital.

Loch Lomond Harbormaster Pat Lopez (yellow vest) directs the evacuation of damaged docks in the storm’s aftermath.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Elsewhere, marina staffs, liveaboards and other slipholders worked furiously to secure boats and gear throughout the Friday storm and during a smaller storm which followed on Saturday. Predictably, poorly secured roller-furling jibs led to dozens of boats lashing about wildly in their slips. At San Rafael’s Loch Lomond Marina wind-driven storm surge overran the outer breakwater and caused an entire row of docks to shift 30 feet. Amazingly, there was little or no boat damage. Loose gear in dry storage yards around the Bay Area became projectiles, as dozens of boats were toppled — especially lightweight daysailers.

Now that the electricity is back on at our Mill Valley offices, we’re beginning to receive photos and ‘war stories’ from all over the Bay Area. If you have storm-related photos or a pertinent report to share, please contact us. Look for further coverage here, and in the February edition of Latitude 38.

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