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Old 09-15-2001
navtron navtron is offline
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heavy weather????


I wake to the feel of heavy heeling and rushing water against the hull. Two hours have past and I can''t sleep anymore, adrenaline is pumping...I can feel it. On deck once again I see a tired Emory, waves and white water higher than the stern, water pelting my face. The wind indicator is at 49 kts with gusts to 55kts. We go to the port winch and furl the genoa so only a hanky is sticking out. Emory says the autopilot was doing well and that an occasional adjustment to port or starboard stopped any excessive heeling. The white water turned green as it went by Areals'' hull, the roar was deafening. The wind blew hard when we would be on a crest, the canvas, dodger, and awning seemed to grow outward as Emory pointed this out. Emory went down below after reassuring him I got it. The night moved fast as the waves would hit the stern splashing water all over me and the cockpit. I would think this is all and the wind would howl even louder. At a point I did not want to look at the wind indicator anymore, because it seemed it would always go higher when I was wishing it lower! How long can this last? At last glance the winds were at 58-60 kts with gusts 66kts, making it hard to keep the stern to the waves. Adjustments had to be done every few minutes or so, a degree or two to port or to starboard would be needed to stop the heeling as the Areal surfed down the waves. The loud roaring would ease off to a whistling in the upper rigging as we plummeted to the bottom of the wave into the trough where once again the stern would be lifted skyward as the next wave in turn would march along. The waves were steep and shortly spaced, the wind was from the south, and made it difficult to look back when you were on top of a wave. The wave conditions were attributed to the Gulfstream and making any adjustments to get out would not be prudent since the Areal was handling well even in these conditions. Stern to seemed to be the order of the day, and day it was. Monster waves.....White water breaking and rolling down yet not. It would stay to the top of the wave and then the wave would seem to heave up higher and move along faster pushing the white water behind it. This was noticed as we reached the peak of the wave before racing down at terrific speeds. The wave would then again catch up with us half way down and lift and roll under us with a thunderous roar! As the Areals'' stern would fall off the back part of the wave, you felt you were on the space shuttle pointing upwards. In the trough it felt like a relief for a few seconds as the pressure of the winds and spray abated, but knowing the next wave would pick Areals'' stern skyward bringing you into a deafening world. At times when the stern would rise up to the wave, the angle got so steep you felt you had to put a hand on the seat orwheel to keep yourself in. We had on those new type of PFDs'' which inflated whenyou fell i
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