We've been here at Tuzi Gazi marina in Richards Bay for nearly two days now. We haven't had much rest since the southerly buster arrived in the early hours of yesterday morning. It brought sustained winds of 40 knots with frequent much stronger gusts. Apparently the port control tower registered a gust of 71 knots. The 40 knot winds lasted for 18 hours or so.
|Zen Again riding out the buster|
Unfortunately the marina wasn't up to the combination of this (apparently very bad) buster and a full complement of yachts. Both jetties have sustained damage, apparently due to failure of several mooring chains. The wind was onshore and one jetty dragged several metres shorewards. The walkways concertina'd at the shore-end. The finger jetties attached to those segments rotated.
|View of the jetty overall|
|Slightly closer up - note the distant finger jetties|
To get on and off the jetty one now has to clamber over two boats, both of which are sustaining damage from the marina disintegrating around them. Their crews seem to be maintaining their good spirits.
In my opinion the response of the marina management to the storm leaves a lot to be desired. We saw no marina staff when we arrived so simply picked an empty berth. When I visited the marina office I noticed a whiteboard plan of the marina but no yacht names were annotated. If they had actively managed where the bigger boats were berthed damage might have been reduced, and at least they'd know who is where for safety purposes.
Apparently similar but less dramatic damage happened last year. When I visited the marina office the owner/manager showed me survey reports and reports of work they had done to improve the anchor system earlier this year. Prior to the buster several local boat owners warned of the danger of the jetty anchors dragging. A number of boats - both locals and visitors - set their own anchors prior to the buster.
|Zen Again - very lucky to be in an outer pen|
Happily the wind is gradually abating this morning. Here's hoping the damage suffered by yachts has not been major.