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post #12 of Old 07-21-2008
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Location: Jacksonville, Fl
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I've been caught exactly one time in big seas, and that was on a friend's boat. It was a Cheoy Lee ketch, and a well built boat. (Before the factory burned down in Taiwan.)

We were bringing the boat back to the US from the Orient, and got caught on the edge of a typhoon. Winds were 80-85 with gusts and the seas were, by my reckoning, about 40 feet.

We didn't have a drogue or sea anchor, but we did have plenty of 3/4" nylon line, so we tied slip knots every three feet with loops about a foot in diameter, and tossed the lines out behind us to slow us down. It worked, mostly. That warp brought our speed down from 6 knots to 3.5 knots with bare poles, and helped keep the stern pointed the right way...

The rest of it was manhandling the wheel. All of us were young and in good shape, and we still couldn't steer for more than 15-20 minutes at a stretch. Ten hours of that left all of us exhausted. That's when the winds finally dropped to a 'sedate' 40 knots.

This was all a very long time before GPS, of course, and the High Seas weather forecasts were pretty skimpy. Mostly second and third hand information from other ships in the area.

My only commentary? Been there, did that, wouldn't do it again if I had any kind of choice. If you want to do that for fun, then you probably enjoy skydiving, wreck diving, and all other manner of passtimes better left to adrenaline junkies.

My advice? Keep track of the weather. If it starts going in the crapper, run the other way, even if it's the wrong way. Surfing a big boat is hard on the boat, harder on the crew, and downright scary.

Cap'n Gary
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