Okay - it's been a while since I've rated..but today, I think I rated.
I mean, what would you call........SAILING THROUGH A FREAKIN' TORNADO!?!?!?
Heh-heh. It was pretty insane...but really fun...in a sick kind of way. Our OB has been really squirelly since we took it in for service a couple of weeks ago. That, plus the fact that we were pretty low on gas had me a little nervous as we left the marina in a light rain. But, I figured...what's the worst that can happen? We just sail back into the slip, right?
So we're out in extremely lame winds...drifting around...watching this dude in a Pearson 27 practicing a spin set (horribly I might add). He's sailing sideways - and I'm impressed that a Pearson can do that. Suddenly the wind starts piping up, just after he socks his kite and starts motoring. We start cranking northward at 6 knots or so under a full main and 150. There's a race going on in the gulley and we stay upwind of the committee boat enjoying the speed.
Suddenly, a friend says, "Holy crap, look at that!" I turn around and see this:
No way. That's just a tail dropping. Then a cloud starts coming from the ground to meet that tail. Texas Tornado, baby. 3 miles and closing.
Then, lots more start to form along that line...
That wall of pain is heading straight for us.
We immediately get everyone into PFDs, drop all sail, start the motor and head for a channel that will give us some shelter from the blast. There's very little time.
Within 2 minutes, it's on us...
We move back and forth behind this cliff as the main lake channel blows up with crazy white caps and big winds. The OB starts dying, and I have to milk the choke to keep it running. If it dies now, we are completely screwed. I check the gas and we're low. Crap.
I tell my friend to be ready to go forward and drop the anchor if we lose the motor. It's now directly over us. The wind is howling...
Of course, I'm as cool as a cucumber in my sweet BFS gimme...(heh-heh).
Here, let me give you a closer look...OH YEAH BABY!!!!
And my kids are cowering in the v-berth...
It howls on past...looking absolutely Biblical...
About this point we head back out onto the lake and start back to the marina since we're dangerously low on gas. We have to keep the motor cranked to fight through the wind and waves. We're actually getting spray over the bow (I love when that happens).
We clear Windy Point and throw up a reefed main and kill the motor to conserve the last few ounces of gas. The wind is still blowing stink but it's starting to die down a bit.
We sail all the way back to the marina inlet...and then things get testy....
We're tacking back and forth right at the mouth of the marina, trying to get past the break water without using the motor. We tack to starboard and I look over and see a 45' double-decker party barge coming at us about 200 yards away doing 15 knots or so. He's trying to cut between us and the marina (a space of no more than 200'). What THE hell?
I stand up in the cockpit and wave him off - using my hands to tell him we're headed into the marina. He doesn't change course. There's a dude on the lower deck, but I can't see anyone else on the boat. The dude runs up the stairs. They are now about 75 yards away - on a collision course. There is literally nothing we can do at this point.
Finally, I see someone at the upper deck take the wheel and bear off to port. I start politely screaming at him to read the freakin' Rules of the Road. Why? Because he's screaming at me as he goes by that it was my fault for "turning right in front of him".
I point out the fact that he's a raging bonehead and that vessels under sail have the right of way. He returns fire saying that it's the "larger boat that has the right of way". He flips me the bird. I work very, very hard to restrain myself because my kids are listening now. But I'm seriously pissed...you know, kind of like CP-And-Tartan-Pissed.
We make it back to the slip without further incident and I have a nice tall rum beverage. I'm better now.
You sail through a tornado and get run down by a freakin' party barge? Where's the justice in that?
Stinkpotters are freakin' Neanderthals. Here is the driver of that party barge...