Surviving our First Blizzard Aboard


Snowstorm Jonas covered Liberty State Park in over two feet of snow.

Despite the mild start to our winter, January has been making up for lost time. We’ve had crazy wind chills and frozen water lines. And this past weekend we had our first blizzard come through. When I got a Happy Birthday text from my friend Tory over at Sail Me Om that said she got me a blizzard, I momentarily got excited thinking it was of the strawberry cheesequake variety. No, this blizzard was a lot larger, and not nearly as delicious. Winds were predicted to hit 55mph, storm surges were going to be nearly as bad as Hurricane Sandy and we were expecting anywhere from 2 inches to 2 feet of snow. This had the potential to cause some serious damage.

Cleaning out ice chunks from our dinghy
Storm prep includes clearing out the ice chunks that had formed in our dinghy. Ice is HEAVY!

We started storm prep earlier in the week which included topping off our water tanks, attempting to build a cover for our boat that we opted not to finish, emptying the dingy of any left over rain water, making sure the drains were all clear on the deck, getting the propane tanks filled, checking all the dock lines, making a Walmart run, and grabbing the generator out of storage. With the winds in tropical storm territory we decided to not put the cover up and settled in with the fact that we’d be shoveling a variable amount of snow throughout the day.

We woke up Saturday morning to about a foot of snow covering our decks. The snow was falling at 3 inches an hour. We couldn’t shovel fast enough to keep up with it. The dogs weren’t having it. In the 2 years we spent cruising, we only got the dogs to pee on the boat once. One look at the snow falling outside our cozy sailboat and both dogs immediately peed right outside the cockpit and headed back inside under the blankets.

It’s always fun when the snow is blocking your door from opening. This is just what blew into the cockpit under the bimini!

Posted by Sailing Chance on Saturday, January 23, 2016


As the day went on, the snow total predictions continued to rise. Our 2 – 8 inches grew all the way to 24  – 30 inches. Jonas was looking to break some records. Trains, planes and automobiles were all shut down and the only way to go anywhere was carefully on foot. Our marina store was surprisingly open so I headed over there to stock up on wine, beer and Combos. Turns out I wasn’t the only one with booze on the brain, the store sold more alcohol on Saturday than they have all month!

Beer run.
Beer run. That barely visible building is the destination, a mere .2 miles away. 

Full stocked, we headed to our neck-dock-neighbor Peter’s who was hosting a Storm Party. A few brave souls who weathered the storm at the marina headed over for a night full of laughing, sailing stories and likely way too much wine. By the time we finished off the 6th bottle of wine the snow had stopped. In the end Central Park clocked in at 26.8 inches of snow, just 0.1 inch less than the all time snowfall record from 2006. Nothing like a near record breaking snowstorm to ease us into our first winter aboard.

There is something truly amazing about the boating community and this was even more clear watching everyone come together to cleanup the aftermath of Jonas Sunday morning. After shoveling off our decks, we grabbed the dogs, the kayak and headed out for a little fun in the snow. With the roads plowed, the big field outside of the marina had little hills that were really fun to slide down in the kayak. I’m not so sure the dogs enjoyed it, but it was definitely fun for us!

Liberty State Park was covered in a 2.5 ft blanket of snow
The snow sure is pretty.
Running around in the snow after Blizzard Jonas came through.
Riley LOVES the snow, maybe even more than sand (gasp!).
Two feet of snow demands a snow angel.
Now that is a good snow angel!

In the end, this snow storm wasn’t so bad. I do wish it took place on a weekday so I didn’t have to give up my whole weekend for the storm, but overall it wasn’t too bad. Hoping everyone in the path of the storm made it out safely!

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  1. I didn’t see you guys with your kayak! That’s so fun! Next time we should race 🙂 Also, Dewey seemed remarkably okay with that. I don’t think Honey would be so sure.

  2. Damn! And I thought we had it rough with the wet winter this year here in San Francisco. Nice to see you guys making the best of it.

  3. Wow! The closest thing we had to this was a coupe icicles hanging from our cockpit drains and a small pile of frozen rain in the cockpit when we were on the hard the first winter. That’s serious snow on deck! How did the boat do with the cold, stayed warm inside?