SailNet Community - View Single Post - Got caught in a Squall today
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post #32 of Old 05-08-2011
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Coming down the Chesapeake last year from the C & D canal found us in steady 30's out of the west for about 5 hours. Gusts were in the 40's and we had a max reading in the 50's. Luckily it was a beam reach so we could go with a single reefed main and 25% of the 135% jib. The problem was that if we sailed too low we were beam to the waves, and if we sailed too high we healed too much and the sails took a beating. We were able to find a happy medium, only taking an occasional wave over the side. We hand steered most of the time because we could not rely on the auto pilot. The boat handled it with some shuttering from time to time. I recommended after the first hour that we duck in and wait it out but the crew wanted to keep going, even after getting a few of those waves down the back. After a period of time the initial fears of the "what ifs" went away because the boat and crew were able to handle the situation. We made sure that there was a lot of communication before any changes were made. I don't know how I would have done this without crew. I'm not sure if my auto pilot would have handled it. For me single handing would only be in the best of conditions, even then I can't figure how to get this 35 Oday back into the slip without damaging my ego and perhaps other boats.
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