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Re: What would you do? Caught off guard by storm on the Chesapeake
I got caught by a microburst heading south just as I approached the bay bridge, it came from the west out of nowhere (the radar showed it pop up over USNA and hit me in about 10 min). I had a Catalina 34 at the time and 2 inexperienced crew. Decide and act fast is key, battened everything down, engine on, sails down, PFD's and other safety gear as Sabre lays out. We had traffic nearby and the only things I would add was to have an air horn and a sea anchor or drogue ready if necessary. Since I was so close to the bridge, I had to turn north away from it and thankfully the wind direction was west/NW. The cell came so quick that the boys didn't have time to get foulie pants on. Wind clocked up to over 40kts and visibility was zero. Blew the horn every two minutes, got tossed around for about 10 keeping eyes on my chartplotter and having crew keep an eye out. it was extremely hairy. My son was filming the approaching storm, put the camera down in the helm drinkholder (camera was still on) and I now have video of us getting hit by lightning. (Search 'lightening.wmv' on youtube) This (thankfully) only knocked out my anemometer and not the engine/alternator or chartplotter. When the cell passed, the catamaran that was easily .5nm sw of us was now 100 yds approaching my stbd quarter from the north at speed. I also highly recommend having your swim goggles handy, especially if you wear contacts. Heavy rain can make it difficult to see.
Top of my mast looked like someone pointed an arc welder at it for about 20 minutes according to my rigger that fixed it. The VHF antenna wiring was melted inside of the mast. This thing bounced off the top of the mast and hit the water ahead of the bow just like Faraday's Cage is supposed to work I guess...I got a few new gray hairs after that one!
2012 Jeanneau SO 50DS