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P.E.I. sailor preparing for hurricane Lorenzo to hit the Azores this week

Alan Mulholland is preparing for hurricane Lorenzo to hit the island of Faial later this week. Mulholland was hoping the hurricane would miss the Azores, where he's been stationed recently in his sailing trip around the world. Alan Mulholland photo
Alan Mulholland is preparing for hurricane Lorenzo to hit the island of Faial later this week. Mulholland was hoping the hurricane would miss the Azores, where he's been stationed recently in his sailing trip around the world. Alan Mulholland photo - Contributed
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Alan Mulholland is one captain who won't be going down with his ship. 

With only a few days before hurricane Lorenzo is set to hit the Azores, Mulholland is preparing for impact – onshore. 

"I won't be on the boat during the storm. Not only would I be putting my life at risk, but it could also be dangerous for rescue crews," said Mulholland via a web-call with the Journal Pioneer on Monday morning. 

The Summerside resident, who is in the process of sailing around the world, landed in the Azores late last month. He was stopped in Florez when he heard about the impending storm. Two other sailors were in the area at the time, one from Ukraine, another from Germany, each decided they would sail to the nearby island of Faial and into port at Horta. Mulholland decided to join them.

"It was fun to see a little flotilla of sailboats made of Ukraine, Germany and Canada," he said. 

Mulholland sailed from P.E.I. on July 28, in his 25.5-foot sailboat Wave Rover. 

To prepare for Lorenzo, he's been taking everything off the boat deck. 

"The procedure is sort of written in stone. Take everything you can, off."

To secure the craft, Mulholland said sailors typically double the lines, but rather than settling for eight, he has 10. 

"I've also topped up all the water in the [jugs] and I plan to make a big stew Thursday night so I have something to eat. I doubt I'll get any sleep."

He said the help among the sailors and people in the community has been great. 

"It's quite a thing to see so many people come together from different nations to help each other. 

He said this is one of the first times Horta may be hit by a hurricane. 

"The port is rather protected. And this is an old, old place. There's a castle here that used to protect the port. But while there's protection, we know nature can be more powerful."

SaltWire meteorologist Cindy Day confirmed this.

"Only one hurricane has ever had a direct impact on the Azores and that was Wendy in 2005," she said. 

Mulholland said usually the storms head past the Azores or spin to another area to the warmer waters in the central section of the Atlantic Ocean. "And there's usually a high-pressure system that protects the Azores. So much for all my planning."  

"Hurricane Lorenzo is still a very large and powerful hurricane but has weakened quite a bit – tracking over the cooler waters of the central Atlantic," said Day. 

She added, "On Saturday, Lorenzo was a Category 5 storm, but by Monday had been reduced to a Category 2."

"They are keeping an eye on it in the Azores islands. It looks like it might stay just west of the islands. The track takes it due west of the Azores around midnight [Tuesday] night and very early Wednesday morning - as a Category 1 hurricane."

Back in port, Mulholland is hoping for the best. His major concern is other boats splitting apart and causing damage to his vessel. 

"If it's above the waterline, I'll fix it. I've moved the boat in a way to protect the rudder and self-steering gear. I don't even want to think of it sinking.

"This captain isn't going down with his ship."

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