The Hayneses, for the majority of their adult lives, have called one sailboat or another home.

They resided in the Caribbean for 10 years, riding out Hurricane Hugo when it struck the Virgin Islands in mid-September 1989 before the storm rammed the South Carolina coast. They moored their vessel, which continued to double as a residence, at a Stono River marina in 1993, moving out just a few years ago.

After decades on the water, Virginia and Neil Haynes figured it was time to regain their land legs. Their daughter attends the College of Charleston, and the couple now run a home-based marine inspection business.

Knowing the threats from tropical storms, they selected a home building design that's promoted as hurricane resistant. The 1,678-square-foot wood-frame house off Bohicket Road looks round, but it's actually 18-sided.

The plan and materials came from Asheville, N.C.-based Deltec Homes, one of a number of companies that specialize in crafting houses with a near-circular shape. The company claims the structures can survive Category 4 force winds. Workers assemble the houses, by piecing together dozens of pre-cut panels. There are a number of Deltec houses in the Charleston area from the Isle of Palms to Pinopolis.

A relative encouraged the Hayneses, who had bought a 2-acre piece of property near Jesse Qualls Drive in the early 2000s, to check out the Deltec operation. "We went up to Asheville (and) liked what we saw," Virginia said.

The company offers 10 designs for the frame, or "shell," from eight-sided to 22-sided. The Hayneses chose a two-level version of the Sierra. Other floor plans are the Vista, Windsor, Chesapeake, Monterey, Savannah, Augusta, Camden, Newport and Hampton.

Buyers then can customize with interior and exterior features, such as walls 8-10 feet high, siding including fiber cement and wood, overhangs, casement or picture windows, decks and heavy duty hurricane straps.

While buyers can retain a crew to build the home, the Hayneses did much of the work themselves under the supervision of a contractor. "There were six of us," Neil said. "We put the shell up in four days."

The couple are satisfied with the house, completed in early 2004. They put in extensive interior upgrades such as an open kitchen with stainless-steel appliances. While agreeing it's a sturdy house, they are philosophical about the structure's storm-protection claims.

"We haven't had 145-mile-per-hour winds," Virginia acknowledged.

"I never worry about hurricanes," Neil said. "There's not much you can do."

At the same time, he thinks the couple made a wise decision. What sold him was a visit to Topsail Beach, N.C., after a hurricane hit there a few years back. "Most everything was blown away (except) a couple of Deltec (homes)," he said.