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Hurricane Sandy Prompts Last-Minute Scramble At Connecticut Marina

10/29/2012 01:28 pm ET

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Glenn Perry was standing on a dry patch of concrete near the harbor on Monday morning, feverishly trying to unscrew the propellers from the "Ripper," the boat he moors at the Ponus Yacht Club.

"Might as well try to save these!" he yelled over the wind and the clanking of rigging to a friend standing nearby.

A half hour into his work, he was almost knee deep in water, as the day's first high tide sent waves from Long Island Sound coursing into the marina parking lot. The salt water bubbled up through storm drains, creeped over docks and blew in from all sides, quickly turning the marina parking lot into a shallow lake.

All morning long, a parade of boat owners has journeyed to the waterfront here in Stamford, doing final surveys and trying to salvage their boats ahead of Monday night's potential record-setting storm surges from Hurricane Sandy.

The work has been non-stop since Friday, when members of the Ponus Yacht Club began towing their vessels out of the harbor and into the marina parking lot. More than 40 boats sit propped up on cinder blocks.

Most felt the dry dock would be plenty safe, but uneasiness was setting in for the dozen or so members who returned to scope things out Monday morning.

"Allie, you want to come say goodbye to your boat?" Mike Cottle said to his wife, half joking, but half not. The Cottles drove in from Redding, Conn., about 25 miles north, to take what could be a final glance at their 31-foot vessel.

Mike Cottle raised the propellers as high as he could, hoping the salt water wouldn't creep high enough to ruin the electrical wiring.

Throughout the morning, boat owners were taking measurements of the tide, predicting how high the surge would need to be to send the whole fleet floating away. A few members were talking about a game of maritime dominoes, guessing which boats would float first and how they would collide with the others.

"If I had known what I know now, I would have brought it out of here," Cottle said as he buttoned up his boat, the "More Leverage."

hurricane sandy

Tlenn Perry, right, salvages the propellers from his boat, the “Ripper,” fearing Sandy’s floodwaters may inflict major damage at his marina.

Perry, who lives a few miles up the road, salvaged the two propellers from the back of his boat and zipped the rain cover shut, though he wondered aloud if it would do any good.

Most boats were out of the harbor, but Jeffery Saunders was doing a last-minute tow for a friend who is down in Florida and unable to secure the boat on his own. He was hoping for the best, but joined in on the wry humor of most other boat owners.

As one friend was driving away from the marina after a final check on his boat, Saunders shouted out, smiling: "Just unhook it and let it float away."

As the car drove away, Saunders struck a more serious tone, acknowledging that the predicted 6- to 11-foot storm surges could make that scenario a definite reality.

"If they go up," he said, "they sure won't go down the same way."

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