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Hurricane Florence: Out of the Frying Pan and into... Charlotte


SAN FRANCISCO (#1103) – The Frying Pan Shoals Tower is a decommissioned USCG Light Station 35 miles off the coast of the Carolinas. It is owned by Frying Pan Tower LLC, whose front man is a pleasant-sounding gentleman named Richard Neal. His phone number is on the FPT website, so I called the number hoping to find him on the Tower. He answers his own phone.

Frying Pan Tower is near the Gulf Stream and out of sight of land. Richard had originally intended to make FPT into a unique and serene bed and breakfast with access by helicopter. Now, Mr Neal says, he is converting over to fractional ownership.

Gives new meaning to a basic room with a view?

Frying Pan Tower is already being buffeted by the approach of Hurricane Florence as you can see from the Tower's live webcam posted herewith. Mr Neal said he normally weathers such storms on the tower, and had no qualms about doing so for Florence,. However, he has a software-engineering day job in Charlotte, NC, which is where he was when we spoke Thursday morning.

"It will be a bit windy on the Tower today, and by tomorrow Florence will be all but over and forgotten – at least at the Tower," he said.

Mr Neal was surprised to receive a call from a journalist, let alone the editor of a yacht racing website and webcast. He also seemed surprised to hear that the webcam had some 90,000 live viewers as we were talking.

There is something strangely compelling about watching the webcam as Hurricane Florence approaches. One has to wonder, how long will the American flag survive? We will have more on Florence during our TGIF with TFE live webcast tomorrow, which airs as as usual at 1300 PDT / 1600 EDT / 2200 CET on our Sailing Illustrated Facebook page.

More about Mr Neal and his Frying Pan Tower in this 2015 YouTube video courtesy of WMBF, the NBC affiliate in Myrtle Beach, SC....