Great thread…my small contribution:
Some years ago, on an August night, I was on passage from Cartagena (Spain) to Palma de Maiorca, me and my 16 year-old-daughter, on my 36ft boat. We were about 16 miles off Palma when my daughter joined me on the cockpit. It was her turn to pick the wheel, but as a huge thunder storm was striking far away, on the Spanish mainland and as she was a little bit scared, I stayed with her.
The wind started to pick up. We were motor sailing with full main 20š off the head wind. The wind went slowly from 20kt to 30kt and I put, the second and later, as a precaution, the third reef (it makes the sail area really small. I use it as a storm sail, up to 45kts of wind).
Then I saw the “thing” on the radar. It was a huge black area…and it was coming fast. I told my daughter to go inside and to close the boat. Some minutes later I was hit by pieces of ice almost the size of golf balls. It was impossible to stay at the wheel. I put the autopilot on and took shelter under the spray hood and then the wind came in a big blast. As a precaution my hands were on the stoppers, and I immediately let go the boom and the main halyard, to no avail. The boat laid immediately on its side, the boom in the water and the mast touching it. And it stayed that way for I donīt know how long. A lot it seemed to me. Probably two or three minutes, till the blasting wind disappeared, to return to 35k. At that moment the boat righted itself up without any difficulty and I was surrounded by strange waves that seemed to come from all sides.
I was at the wheel but I didnīt know where to steer the boat. The sea was not making any sense and I remember to see some waves racing at fantastic speed, like strange animals speeding on the water. Luckily I was not caught by any of those.
Alf an hour later, everything was “normal” again and I arrived at Palma, at sunrise, as expected. My sail was ripped off from the mast and my banner reduced to shreds.
In Palma everything was normal, no storm had passed there.
It took a lot of persuasion and several experienced sailors to convince my daughter that this was not a “normal” situation. But with the changes on the climate, the truth is that a lot of these strange and violent phenomena are happening on the Med.
Last edited by PCP; 12-20-2009 at 08:40 AM.