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Old 10-17-2007   #9
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In years of sailing on blue water, I’m happy to say I have had very little ship over the bow. The one time I clearly recall, was single handing my 29’ foot sloop from Bora Bora to Pago Pago (I still love how that sounds), near the end of the passage, and after a couple days of calm, the wind came up sharp to about 40 with a few gusts showing 50. It was right behind me and my problem was trying to slow the boat on the last night so as not to reach the reef entrance until after dawn. The seas were fairly short without too much swell but there was a lot of spray, and it was noisy, and the boat didn’t like steering if I put the jib any smaller than would keep the boat moving at least 3 knots. Two days and basically no sleep. Finally I decided it was best to heave to and wait an hour, but soon after I turned the boat around, we took one wave pretty hard and then a second larger one, swept over the length of the boat and knocked me across the cockpit and over the top of the tiller. I had to spit out a full mouth of seawater before I could start swearing properly. If there had been any accident in my pants, the wave would have easily washed the evidence away (four big cockpit drains are very good thing, as is a harness with a short leash). I picked a gap and spun the boat back around and made the entrance a few hours later, moments after the light came up. I was telling friends in the harbor the story within the hour while having a hot breakfast. A little blue water, more like black in this case, makes for a good story and good experience, especially when no one gets hurt and nothing gets broken.
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