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Irene Even Crimps the Style of Norwalk Sea Dogs

NORWALK, Conn. – Dexter Bivona is not taking his customary ride out into Long Island Sound this weekend. The 10-month-old English mastiff is going to be indoors, and Renegade, the "pirate ship" owned by one of his masters, will weather out whatever storm comes this way while tied to a dock at Norwalk Cove Marina .

"There's only so much we can do," said Elizabeth Blum of Stamford, Dexter's co-owner. "It's safer in the water than it is in the parking lot."

Blum was one of many boat owners taking a laid-back approach to tying up their property, enjoying beautiful weather in advance of Hurricane Irene. "It's a perfect day," Blum said. "At least we have a nice day to prepare. ... You wouldn't guess that 100 mile per hour winds were coming at us."

Chris Raymond works for Ocean Rigging and enjoys boat trips with Blum on the "Renegade," a Hatteras Sportfish that sports a frayed pirate flag. He spent the day taking down the sails on 15 boats in the marina's parking lot. "If they start to fray or they start to come apart up there, they'll knock the boats off the stands," he said.

"Lots of lines and lots of fenders" was the description Tim Geitz gave to preparations boat owners were making, referring to what most people call ropes and bumpers. Geitz goes out twice a week in his 72-foot Sunseeker Predator, the "No Plans." "That's pretty much what we have to do for the next couple of days," he said, meaning, have no plans.

Walter Schlicting had a much smaller boat to worry about, an advantage with a wind storm approaching as smaller boats are farther from open water at the marina. He and his son were going to take the sail off their 25.5 Hunter sailboat because they had been told it could come unwrapped in the wind. "They told us to have everything in the cockpit so there is nothing flying around," he said. "Everything is tied down tight."

Robert Noeldechen and Cheryl Cioffi appeared to be enjoying themselves as they lounged around the back of his 33-foot Egg Harbor. But they were very serious about the approaching storm.

"It's not going to be a Katrina," Noeldechen said, "but NOAA is predicting that this is going to be the bull’s-eye, Fairfield County."

"If you take precautions, you'll be fine," Cioffi said. "If you don't, you're going to end up with problems."

How are you preparing for Hurricane Irene?

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