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post #56 of Old 09-26-2007
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Pasadena Md - Magothy side
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Hit a +45 kt squall the first week on my new boat this spring -
Saw it coming with 10 minutes notice and Navy training kicked in, lights on, pfd's and foulies on, VHF on (no lighting, just wind and rain- and it's rarely on normally), hatches down and latched, doors shut - I don't tether if in the cockpit, it's big wide and deep. Cell phone and hand held VHF into a zippy (ditch bag). We were already bare poles, motor on, so we put the leeward centerboard 1/2 down (Gemini catamaran). Headed dead into the wind, and held the boat to 1kt, monkeying the throttle to keep it there. With the twin hulls funneling the air it's a choice or bow on, or bow off, and watching that you keep it there in wind shifts. Stayed dry, bounced a bit, but man we came out of it loving our new boat. On our previous Hunter 31 it would have required a change of underwear, and more than likely shredded the bimini

Main point is, take ALL of these inputs, have a plan, know the plan, Communicate the plan, and use the plan(including carrying fresh underwear if needed). Afterwards, review said plan and incorporate lessons learned.
Besides, the point isn't just getting thru this one, it's keeping it calm and relaxed enough to talk the crew into going out again.

Now opinion time:
I think sailing at all in a squall is bad mojo - a down burst can hit from any direction at any time. You can literally be hove to one minute and beam on the next second (followed by broached, then poached). You can't heave to on most boats adequately in the varying wind speeds of a squall - most boats require fine tuning the sail/rudder trim.
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