Hurricane Irma deals blow to yacht owners; even ‘Hurricane Hole’ is slammed

Hurricane Irma is wreaking havoc throughout the Caribbean as the Category 5 storm churns menacingly toward Southern Florida, and the yachting community has discovered that even time-tested safe harbors are not being spared.

Caribbean Islands of St. Martin and Anguilla in the eye of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday morning. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA/GOES-16 Experimental

The Facebook image posted below, captured by Ron Gurney while inside the eye of the storm, shows dozens of high-end yachts smushed together inside Paraquita Bay.

At least a few of the boats were capsized and presumably were further damaged after the eye passed the area.

The image speaks volumes because Paraquita Bay, which is surrounded by mangroves, is considered a protected anchorage. It’s dubbed the "Hurricane Hole" and is utilized by hundreds of yacht owners whenever a threatening storm approaches.

On Wednesday, a day on which islands such as St. Martin, St. Barts and St. Thomas were ravaged by Irma, Sailing Anarchy posted the same image under the title "Irma found the hole."

In a separate story, Sailing Anarchy posted a photo showing capsized yachts and mast-less sailboats adrift in a debris-strewn bay at St. Barts.

"It's almost like Hurricane Irma hates Caribbean yachting and is teaching it a lesson," Sailing Anarchy reported. "It's a sad day for St. Barts, which officials called 'apocalyptic' and [St. Martin], where locals said most boats are just gone."

Sailing Anarchy titled one of its stories “Just getting warmed up,” because Irma, though it had passed the northernmost British Virgin Islands, was still boasting 185 mph winds and beginning to blast Puerto Rico.

The Florida-based National Hurricane Center, in its Wednesday evening update, cautioned that hurricane warnings are in effect for the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and Turks and Caicos islands.

A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are likely within the warning area.

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