I was caught in similar conditions a few years ago. My family (3 kids plus my wife) were out for a simple day sail on the Long Island Sound. My wife pointed out some thunderstorm type clouds and asked me if we should head in and get off the water. I remarked that the storms were far way and moving further away.
I was wrong. We sailed for a bit, maybe 30 minutes, and then I saw what appeared to be a solid wall of water moving towards me. I didn't even have time to scream 'holey sh*t' before we were hit. I sent the kids below, put my wife on the wheel and I went below (just kidding). I had her steer into the wind while I started the engine and rolled up the headsail. Then I sent her below and I hung on while I pinched up into the wind. My wife asked if we were going to head in now. I said 'no way, we're going to open water so we have plenty of room.' The rig made a lot of noise but the boat was easy to control.
This past summer we were stuck in similar conditions. I was (a little) smarter this time and rolled up the headsail and started the engine BEFORE we got it. Unfortunately, this time we were in the ocean and the waves got large. With the engine on and the main up I was able to pinch up into the wind and things weren't so bad. About 30 minutes later it was all over.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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