knock down in the Atlantic
In 1974 my wife, Kitty, and I were sailing from St Thomas to New York in July. We were completing a three year circumnavigation in our 30 foot Allied Seawind Ketch. Half way between Hatteras and Bermuda, we got hit by a hurricane and at 0200 July 14, while lying ahull in 85 kts of wind, a huge wave came and we fell off the top of it. When we hit the water it seemed as though the whole boat exploded. Actually the main hatch was blown off, as were the teak grab rails on the cabin top, the spray dodger, the wind-vane self-steering device and the stanchions on the lee side were flattened against the cabin top. When we righted, the water was up to the level of the bunks. Luckily we had the most efficient bilge pump in the world, ...a frightened woman with a bucket! While Kitty got us bailed dry, I bolted a piece of plywood over the companionway hatch opening. There was no time to even think about how much peril we were in. We just did what we had to and by 1100 the next day the wind was down to a mere 35 kts.