Seaport Scrambles to Fit In Boats Seeking Shelter From Hurricane Henri

As forecasts Friday morning started to show Hurricane Henri heading toward a landfall in Connecticut, Chris Gasoriek’s phone at Mystic Seaport was ringing off the hook with people looking for safe harbor at the seaport’s docks.

But the seaport’s docks were already filled with boats in town for the annual WoodenBoat Show, which was postponed from its usual weekend in June.

The show was still going on as normal on a hot, sunny day on Friday, but Gasiorek said he’s been working to accommodate the people who often seek shelter for their boats at the seaport. He said he can’t tell the people there for the wooden boat show to just leave.

“I had to have a couple of hard conversations with folks that we just don’t have a spot,” said Gasiorek, who is vice president of Watercraft Preservation and Programs at the seaport.

The Mystic Seaport has been a good place for boats to hide during storms because it sits in a valley that provides some protection from the wind, Gasiorek said.

“Other than the surge, it’s a great place to hide along the Connecticut coast, and we’ve always offered that to community partners,” Gasiorek said. “For the University of Connecticut’s research vessels, Project Oceanology, and other tall ships in town – it’s really a community resource, especially for historic boats that are a little more fragile.”

Gasiorek said the seaport was going to start shuffling boats around on Saturday afternoon in preparation of Henri arriving on Sunday, but on a sunny evening Friday, it would be hard to tell by walking around the seaport that a hurricane was on the way.

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