Hampton, Virginia was struck by a tornado last night.
We were at a party for the Southern Bay Race Week regatta at Hampton Yacht Club, with our son Mike and his Artemis II crew, when the security guard got the band to stop playing and moved everyone from the party tent to inside the Yacht Club building, and then continued to herd everyone (a couple of hundred people or more) away from the windows and into the hallways behind the bar. I was able to look out at one point and I saw fifty masts all heeled at about 45 degrees. That was right before the big picture windows of the club exploded inwards. My dinner plate got lost in the shuffle, as did a flip-flop, which was later recovered.
After that it was certainly time for everyone to go home. In the yacht club parking lot boats on trailers had been blown over each other like dominoes falling. Lots of cars had windows blown out. Walking back to Lady we saw trees and chimneys down.
Back on Lady, our bimini, dodger and side-curtains were a mess. The cabin was not too bad, as most everything was still stowed from our recent passages. It was interesting that the refrigerator contents had all slid to port.
Today we have been able to evaluate our damage. We have put back the bimini and dodger as best we can, sewing zippers together as needed. The stantions on the port side by the jerry-cans are bent inwards but can be repaired. They were next to the dock, and the fender between the hull and the piling was up on deck, but no damage to the hull. We seem to have lost the long starboard cockpit cushion. The Oklahoma flag was not tornado-proof and is shredded. We have swept a lot of debris from the cockpit and dried out everything, One of my toes must have got stepped on in the crush as it is quite sore.
Our friends MC and Andre from Dancing Lizard were tied up at the same dock, and were aboard when the tornado hit. It was very scary for them, but they are both OK. The damage to their Moody 46 is a shredded jib, and a torn up toe rail.
Free Hampton WIFI is not working yet, but perhaps it will be by Monday, and I'll post some pictures then.
Hampton is having the annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival this weekend, so we're looking forward to a fireworks display tonight.
After two weeks of successfully dodging tropical storms in the Atlantic, we get nailed while tied up to a dock, but that's life. This could have been much worse, not just for us, but for the hundreds of people at the yacht club. We were amazed to learn that there were no deaths or serious injuries; you would never have guessed that after seeing the damage at the yacht club.