Remnants of Ivan Deliver Stormy Blast in Weekend of High Winds, Heavy Seas
By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL
The remains of one of the worst hurricanes of the year came up from the south and brought severe weather across the Island over the weekend. A 36-foot power boat was destroyed on Saturday when it broke from its mooring in the Vineyard Haven outer harbor and was thrown against the breakwater in heavy seas.
Two other boats were grounded in the area. In Edgartown two boats were grounded and a third sank at its dock.
The storm came in two parts. Meteorologists described it as a merger between the remnants of Hurricane Ivan coming up from the south and a cold front approaching from the northwest. Separately, each weather event was insignificant, but together they packed a punch.
The remaining moisture from the tropical system brought sheets of rain for most of the late morning and early afternoon on Saturday. Cool air moved in from the west, releasing more energy.
The storm had all the hallmarks of a coastal northeaster. Among other things, a number of outdoor weddings were forced indoors.
Rain fell from late morning until about 3 p.m.; the National Weather Service cooperative station recorded almost 1.5 inches of rainfall.
Phil Hale, president of Martha's Vineyard Shipyard, said the waves in Vineyard Haven harbor were bigger than he has seen in years. "The waves were a solid eight feet high. They were enormous," he said.
David Richardson and his wife Ellen lost their family boat in the storm. The 36-foot trawler-style boat named Avonlea was snug at its mooring in the outer harbor on Friday, but on Saturday the boat broke loose. Mr. Richardson said he did not have the correct gear to anchor the vessel in Lagoon Pond, so he decided to let it stay at the mooring. The decision cost him his boat, and the Avonlea perished on the breakwater in the outer harbor.
Mr. Hale went out late in the afternoon on the shipyard's 26-foot power work boat Titan. "It was rough," he said.
On Monday John Packer was scheduled to salvage the remains of the Avonlea. Mr. Richardson has owned the vessel since September of 2001.
Paul Fantasia of Oak Bluffs also found his 27-foot Soling Grasshopper in trouble on Saturday morning. The boat was anchored just off the Packer Wharf, and Mr. Fantasia watched as the boat dragged anchor in high seas. "I tried to get out there with a dinghy but couldn't," he said. The Soling was tossed up on the sand near Beach Road.
Oak Bluffs harbor master Todd Alexander said most of his visiting boats did well.
Edgartown harbor master Charlie Blair said a 30-foot boat named Odyssey washed up near the Chappaquiddick Beach Club. "It is stupid to leave a boat unattended. It is uttermost stupidity," Mr. Blair said. He said the vessel was anchored in the Edgartown outer harbor but could have easily been brought into the harbor and put on a mooring. He said the owner chose to do nothing and the result was costly.
A small boat at the Katama narrows sank at its dock. A 29-foot Sea Ray power boat washed up on the shore of Katama Bay.
Mr. Blair said Nick Van Nes of West Tisbury called him days before the storm for permission to bring his 105-foot sloop from Vineyard Haven into Edgartown inner harbor. It proved to be a smart move for the owner.
The storm damaged some farm crops, including a large stand of young corn at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown that was toppled by wind and rain. "Hopefully the plants will come back," said farm owner Debbie Athearn.
Saturday business was light at the farmers' market in West Tisbury. "We sent 15 bushels to the farmers' market and only sold five," Ms. Athearn said.
Ferry service between the Vineyard and Woods Hole saw no interruptions except for the freight ferry Governor, which canceled two round trips.
There were some cancellations on the Nantucket run.
On Sunday morning the skies cleared but the wind had yet to quit.
The Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby annual kids' derby, scheduled for early Sunday morning, was canceled because of high seas at the Steamship Authority wharf. "We held off to the very end," said contest organizer Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd. "But you could tell, no way. There were six-foot rollers coming in," he added.
The kids' derby was rescheduled for next Saturday morning.
On Sunday two board sailors had a great time speeding across the waves in Nantucket Sound off State Beach. Jamie Douglas of Vineyard Haven was out with his brother Morgan. "It was ideal windsurfing weather for the experienced," Mr. Douglas said. "This is what the fall brings to us, a steady strong breeze."