On the hard
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Bellingham, WA.
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Had my own "Three hour tour" yesterday.
After fulfilling my Grandpa duties at the local skating rink, I put the boat in the water. The weather folks had been calling for this cold front to move through for the past three days without getting it right. The weather was cloudy with winds at 15-20 when I put her in. Within five minutes of casting off, the poop hit the fan and I saw the worst thunderstorms I've ever seen in WA state. The gust front was in excess of 40 knots and promply knock me down as I sheeted out. Hailstones up to an inch in diameter started falling making waterspouts over three feet tall and progressed up to near whitout conditions while turning the water into froth. I brought her into the wind after getting pushed sideways for a bit and planted her on starboard about 15* off the wind while backwinding the jib. This enabled me to stay upright at a leasurely pace of maybe 3 knots while getting pounded by the ice and having lightning strike all around the lake. I managed to sail her to within six feet of the shore to escape the wind and planted the swing keel in the mud. The wind shifted, she spun around and stayed as if at anchor while lightning flashed all around. I left everything where it was and retired to the cabin for a smoke and to get out of the crap and possibly the path of a stray strike considering I was the only 27 foot tall lightning rod on the lake. After about twenty minutes, the lightning stopped, the hail stopped and the rain started. I was sitting there, warming back up while looking out the window when the dock started moving. Yep, she figured the worst was over and started sailing back out into the lake. Not being in the mood to argue, I went back out and started shoveling the nearly three inches of ice into the cockpit drain while she happily sailed herself down the lake. Once I got most of the ice off, I called it a day and sailed her in. All in all, a decent lesson on foul weather sailing and just how quickly things can change. Oh, another lesson, wear those sailing gloves. They make a BIG difference in a hail storm as the most painful thing was having them pounded by the ice because I didn't have them on.
Last edited by CharlieCobra; 06-25-2007 at 02:36 PM.