Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
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I've been through a few like that; honestly, none were a real surprise. Big black clouds, you know.
The first few were in small boats and I struggled with to much sail. But with a tight jib and a main traveled down, they are "manageable." After a few more I learned: reduce sail early! Struggling with too much sail up generally does not make you look like a wise sailor; it makes you look foolish for fighting nature. A boat with tight reefs, sailing under easy control, looks smart.
I'm not saying you need to go right for the engine, but be realistic about how much wind it "may" pack, reduce, and get on a tack that takes you somewhere safe.
In squalls I will generally roll the jib way in, since it's dangerous to the gear to fool with it once the wind hits, and the main cleared to drop quickly if that's what's needed. 40 knots is tough, but what if there had been an 80kt microburst in there? Your sail would be gone now.
(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")
"Well, I just climb up to them."
by Joe Brown, English rock climber
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