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Old 10-05-2016, 07:28 AM   #1
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1968 28' Ambassador
SW Ranches , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 19
Hurricane Matthew + Shell Off Reno = ???

Hey all! We are in South Florida, currently under a Hurricane Warning from a Category 4 Hurricane Matthew. Hurricanes are scary enough to begin with, but we had the added stressor of being right in the middle of a shell of restoration of our 1968 Ambassador (great timing, huh?), we are freaking out. Our frame is currently separate from the shell and the shell is resting between two gantries secured to wooden supports (for pictures of our setup, check out our instagram account @therivetedlife). This set up has weathered some pretty tough storms over the summer without budging, but obviously not hurricane force winds. The best we can think to do is stake down the frame and the gantries and cover the windows with bubble wrap. We're also considering covering the shell with a 20x30' tarp that we have, making sure to tie it underneath the frame. Our current set up allows wind to blow through underneath the shell, we can't figure out if that's better or worse. We know there is only so much we can do and especially in a short period of time, but after 9 months of hard work, we'd hate to lose it all to one storm. If anyone has any suggestions, they would be much appreciated!!!!

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Old 10-05-2016, 07:56 AM   #2
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IIRC, there is an older thread where this has been addressed. May not have been as (potentially) so strong a storm.

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Old 10-05-2016, 08:01 AM   #3
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1973 23' Safari
1970 27' Overlander
Boerne , Texas
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I would remove the windows that come out easily. Would help protect them plus would be less of a "sail" to blow through rather than against.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:21 AM   #4
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1974 27' Overlander
Baltimore , Maryland
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I disagree with removing the windows. By doing so, you are drastically increasing the surface area that the wind can blow across by allowing wind to go inside the shell, as well as making the shell even lighter. Think about whether you would experience more drag driving down the road with the windows closed, or with them open. You want as little "drag" as possible when the wind hits the shell. You don't want the wind getting under the shell and lifting it. You want a dome, not a kite.

I would keep the windows in place to preserve the aerodynamic shape of the shell and keep it as heavy as possible. Protecting the windows with cardboard or something might be a good idea. The exterior grade blue painter's tape seems to hold well in the rain as long as the shell isn't already wet.

I would strap the shell down from both the inside and outside. Looks like you are making a good start with the supplies you posted on IG. If you need something to tie to inside, you can put a plywood brace across the width of the shell and screw it into the side of opposing ribs. You may have already done that to help the shell hold its shape while the shell is off.

If you have something really heavy you can park inside of the shell and strap to from the inside, that would be a good idea. I'm thinking a stack of railroad ties, a small vehicle, tractor, or something at least several hundred pounds. That would help weigh it down in case the ground was sufficiently waterlogged to compromise the stakes you strapped to.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:28 AM   #5
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Oh. And if you are going to try parking something heavy inside and anchoring to that, ratchet straps are a good idea. You want to get it tight enough that there is no play for the wind to shift things around.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:10 AM   #6
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1973 31' Excella 500
Vicksburg , Mississippi
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If your shell is still on concrete slab then 4 or 6 Hilti concrete anchors with straps would hold it down, they are very strong.
Remember that it's not just the fact that the wind is blowing 100+mph it's WHAT the wind is blowing at 100+mph. Secure anything that could be blown into your airstream.

Good luck am God bless!
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:20 AM   #7
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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I strongly urge you NOT to cover any openings, the frame, or the shell with tarps, bubble wrap, etc., all of which will be sails to catch the wind. You will increase the damage doing this IMO.

Stake/strap everything down -- as-is -- to tent anchors screwed into the ground, or anything else really heavy, and pray for the best.

Good luck!

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