My question is the same as Lancer28, only we did get caught in a storm on lake St. Claire.
I was crew on a C&C 33, we were wing on wing and the wind was at 4 knots The dark sky was approaching. When the wind started to come up we were in a tight pack. Fifteen seconds later the wind was at 45 knots. Another fifteen seconds and it was blowing at 58. We couldn't turn when we wanted to because we were so tight, and turning would have meant a collision.
We released the genoa sheet, let out the main until it was plastered against the shrouds, and released the vang. My last glance at the knotmeter, we were doing 9 knots and couldn't turn if we wanted to. The engine was now running and in gear and was no help. The skipper tried taking the wheel over and once it was against the stop all the boat would do is heel.
What played out is that we rode it out until we were in danger of running out of lake. By then the wind had died down enough to allow the helm to respond but, it was still blowing like hell. We were able to then get the main down. Then we put the boat back into a run so the genoa would be flapping off the bow. I was able to ball it up within the pulpit and secure it with a bungee.
What did we do wrong and what did we do right? I already know about reefing early but, it happened so fast and we were concentrating on making better time over the next guy while in light air.
I think letting the headsail go helped but, it was destroyed. I really, really wanted to get the main down but felt there was no way we would be able to haul it down while it was hard against the shrouds. Should we have cut the outhaul?
Any ideas on how to do it once your in it would be appreciated.
As in Lancer28's question, the answers being sought aren't what to do before, but what to do once you're in it.
P.S. What a ride that was!!!!!
If it aint broke...............just give me a little more time.