To marina owners, strength of storm came as a surprise

Some local marinas sustained damage from the storm that blew heavy winds Sunday into Monday while others didn't, but owners and managers across the board expressed surprise at the strength of the storm.

There "just didn't seem to be a lot of real warnings, as far as weather reports were concerned," said Jen Chiappone, general manager of Thamesport Marina in New London. "We're used to having storms, but we're not used to having the types of surges."

The storm resulted in "quite a few snapped lines on boats" and there was damage to docks from snapped lines banging into them, Chiappone said. A mast came down on one sailboat, and another boat had its sail shredded.

She said cleanup has involved cleaning debris from the docks, replacing dock boards that came loose and reinforcing cleats. But Chiappone said a new breakwater helped cut down the chop.

AW Marina, a quarter-mile north of Thamesport, didn't experience any damage, said Karen Westerberg, one of the owners.

But she said on Tuesday afternoon that a neighbor lost a sailboat, which is now on Green Harbor Beach. Nearby, Burr's Marina also had some damage.

"I think this really took us by surprise, even though they talked about that the wind and stuff was going to happen," Westerberg said. "At the last hurricane, everybody was all really in-tuned with that, and this time, we're like, 'Oh, it's just going to blow a little bit.' And it did. And it did."

Sam Crocker, assistant manager of Crocker's Boatyard, said that marina is "very protected" in its Shaw Cove location, and there was no damage.

Similarly, Gales Ferry Marina was not damaged because it is situated in a cove. But Lucille Lupinacci, one of the owners, still felt surprised, saying, "When the weatherman gave his forecast, there wasn't like any urgency or any predictability or anything to give us any indication."

On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard and Westerly Fire Department responded to a report of an unmanned adrift vessel, said Andrew Dennis, the Coast Guard officer on duty.

He said the boat was derelict and had an old registration, and there weren't any indications it had been manned. The Westerly Fire Department's search of the area did not come up with anything, Dennis added.

e.moser@theday.com

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