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Re: White Squall...
Ive been in two 'white squalls', I almost rolled the first time.
Both were bright CLEAR days with a few high altitude stratus clouds directly above and down wind .... and the ONLY thing I saw was advancing FOAM on the water heading at me with great velocity.
The first time it happened we didnt even realize what was happening until too late and got hit with a massive 'wall' of wind that instantly laid the boat flat on her beam ends with the spreader deep in the water and held there for a few MINUTES. At sea our practice is to usually keep well 'buttoned up' so there was not any down flooding, etc.
Second time many years later, and instantly reflecting on the first experience 'learned the hard way', we got the topsail furled, the staysail down and simply dropped the main into a second reef ... all in about 30 seconds. (my boat heaves-to on a deep reefed main alone). Still with only a deep reefed main to heave-to on, we were well over and well past 45-50° for almost 20-30 minutes.
In both of these incidents, there was no 'warning', no rolling black clouds, no rain, etc. .... just the 'front' of FOAM on the water approaching the boat at high speed, in both instances the weather was essentially clear with lots of 'blue' showing. Reflecting back, the only visual long term warming was that the sky well to weather became crystal clear blue, high clouds (blown out cirrus with streaks) downwind and the temperature was starting to drop significantly. In both instances and after the FOAM passed by, it blew at well into full gale force for at least 30+ minutes, when before it was ~15kt.
There's a high and fast learning curve when a clear air 'white squall' rolls over you. My 'lesson' is if there has been an intense cold front coming from the west, and just because we cant see the typical/normal approaching roll clouds, and even if the sky is somewhat clear ... we still set up or get ready for a 'blaster'. Clear air 'white' squalls are not 'fun'.
Also had a large several mile in diameter 'blue hole' suddenly open up on top of me one time that gave similar 'hassle' but that definitely wasnt a white squall but a LOW center that 'birth-bombed' right on top of us off of Hatteras during extremely humid conditions with steadily rising winds. Inside the 'clear hole', the wind dropped to near zero, and with a brilliant 'chimney' of clear blue directly overhead, we crossed the 'wind wall' and instantly encountered near hurricane force winds for several hours.
Last edited by RichH; 09-03-2013 at 04:04 PM.