UPDATED: Vineyard deals with nor’easter’s mess


Updated 10/30/21

Days after a nor’easter thrashed the Vineyard, power outages persist with about 162 customers still affected, according to MEMA’s outage map. That’s a significant decrease from the 2,000 Islanders who remained without electricity as of Friday morning.

 During a press briefing on Thursday, the CEO of Eversource Joseph Nolan promised 98% of customers would have their power restored in southeastern Massachusetts by 6 pm Saturday. Schools on the Island, after two days off because of the widespread power outages, returned to classes on Friday. On Saturday outages pockets persisted on the Vineyard though the numbers had been significantly reduced. Eversource spokesman William Hinkle told The Times North Road and State Road were proving problematic areas. 

“There are a couple of different circuits serving customers along North and State Roads,” Hinkle texted just before 1 pm, “and the severe destruction has made the entire process of restoring all customers in the area complicated. We’re actively working there to complete restoration this afternoon.” 

Treeworks were a ubiquitous sight Friday both on the roadside and in private yards. Branches, limbs, and trees remained evident. On Tashmoo Avenue in Tisbury, a large tree uprooted and fell onto a house. In Oak Bluffs, a large tree limb fell onto the roof of a house, hacking a notch into the roof line. 

“It was technical — we rigged it down with ropes, a lifting device, and a friction device,” Owen White of White Tree and Landscape Specialists, said of the removal.  

A number of boats were salvaged after ripping from moorings during the storm. 

A 33-foot twin outboard pleasure boat named Love and Hate that had bobbed upside down in Oak Bluffs Harbor since Wednesday was righted Friday morning and buoyed by lift bags. “It wasn’t easy,” Capt. Mark Brown said. Brown was aboard one of two Tow Boat US boats that participated in the salvage. Brown said: “It just took some finesse with both boats.”

Oak Bluffs harbormaster Todd Alexander told The Times he was unsure how the boat flipped but said a common way they capsize is simply by getting swamped.   

Brown and his crew went to Lake Tashmoo from Oak Bluffs Harbor to lift a sunken sailboat.

“Just trying to get that done before the weather comes in tomorrow,” he said.

Off the floats at Lake Street Landing, all that was visible of the sailboat was the upper part of a mast poking up from the water. Local mariner Lynne Fraker, who was observing the salvage from a motorized dinghy, told The Times the sailboat was owned by Lynne Silva and had been OK during the day Wednesday but then sunk at night. 

As the sailboat operation was underway, West Tisbury mariner Mitch Gordon coasted in aboard his damaged power boat Artemis. Artemis was rafted to an Offshore Engineering skiff. 

Gordon said Artemis had been moored in Lake Tashmoo. 

“It went under Wednesday night during the storm when we were all lying in bed listening to the wind screaming and thinking it’s in Tashmoo, it’s safe — it’s in Tashmoo, it’s safe,” Gordon said. “And then I got down here and was like, I had a boat over there.” 

Gordon said he couldn’t see it anywhere from Lake Street Landing. He then went to the Tisbury Water Works and couldn’t see his boat from there either. Eventually he walked the shore line and saw “a little bit of black hull sticking out — much like that one in Oak Bluffs… The pennant line snapped and the boat sailed itself very neatly down to Ralph Packer’s house, ran aground, I’m just suspecting, it went bow-first into the sand. Waves came over, filled it up and then it rolled over. And, ah, it got a haircut.”

By haircut, Gordon referred to the flying bridge, which was reduced to wreckage. 

“But fortunately, when I finally found the boat, I went and knocked on Ralph’s door,” Gordon said. “I didn’t know it was Ralph’s house. This really wonderful couple invited me in. We’re looking out the window at the boat from their living room and the gentleman asked me ‘what are you going to do?’ I said I think I need to call Ralph Packer. The woman said ‘you’re talking to him.’ So he just got on the phone, called up his son, and brought the crane over. And after they pulled his boat off the shore there, they just plucked it right out.”