Storm and Disaster! Devastation and Destruction! Woe, alas!

December 20th 2018 brought disaster to the sister club of MBYC that I belong to.  On that fateful day, a storm such as had not been seen in living memory hit the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The lads over at the Lower Mainland Yacht Club moor their boats on the float at the end of the White Rock pier. They have (had) seven boats in all.

All seven boats were either sunk or so badly damaged in the storm that they were written off.

According to BC Hydro, the December 20, 2018 storm was the most damaging in the Crown utility’s history making it larger than the August 2015 wind-storm that affected the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, and larger than the 2006 wind-storm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park in Vancouver.

The damage:


A good shot above of how the waves surged over the breakwater battering the float and the boats tied to it.

breaking loose

Above the boats are starting to break free and bounce down the pier.

under the pier

Making their way towards the shore.

boats agains the pier

Above – being forced through the pilings on the pier.

busted boat

Almost through..

on the beach

Clear of the pier & on the beach..

on the beach 2.jpeg


on the beach 3

Not where she’s supposed to be…

on the beach 4

Badly busted up.

An arial view of the damage post storm. That’s about 100 feet of pier missing and a sunken boat in the gap.

A sad day for the sailing community.

White Rock Council is predicting that the repair to the pier will be northwards of 5 million and probably closer to 6 million dollars.  The project likely won’t be completed till August 2019.

This storm affected my boat as well.  While the wind and waves didn’t really affect the sheltered little cove where I moor my boat, the storm surge sure did.

The river has a dyke built along it to protect the low-lying farmland from flooding. It was built many years ago. The builders clearly didn’t anticipate the kind of surge that this storm bought along with it.  The water was within about a foot of breaching the dyke. 

Little Bear’s mooring buoy is in the deepest part of that section of the river.  When I calculated the length of chain I would need I based it on High High Tide plus a few (about 5) feet.  It didn’t occur to me that there may be a surge of any sort. We just don’t get storms like that. Well, at least not till now. 

The tackle on the bottom is about 1100 lbs of steel & concrete. Under ‘normal’ circumstances this is plenty adequate to hold the boat.  However, as the surge came up the chain and buoy reached their limit. Added to that is the relatively short pennant I have to attach the boat to the buoy and the boat simply lifted the tackle off the bottom.  It would never have dragged but pulling straight up was absolutely no problem at all.   So my boat, with it’s buoy & tackle drifted. Toward shore. And other boats that are moored in shallower water.

Little Bear ended up bumping into a trimaran. Between the trimaran and the shallower water she stopped drifting toward shore.  The following day I hustled down to the river to assess the damage and rectify the mooring.  Understand that Little Bear has no fuel tanks at the moment so her engine won’t run!! In a pinch I could have filled a jerry can and stuffed the fuel hose into that but with time and circumstances it was easier just to tow it.

The chap who owns the trimaran was also there.  He helped me with a tow and we moved Little Bear to an empty mooring much further up river. His boat didn’t have any damage at all and Little Bear only suffered the indignity of a bit of scuffing on her new shiny paint.

It could have been worse. Much worse. Look at those pictures!  Some of those boats I know quite well. Every spring they haul out at my club’s facilities for maintenance, bottom cleaning etc. Now they’re gone. I still have a boat. And she’s safe and secure.  Thank God.

Next week I’ll post what the water around the club looked like… stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.