Read 'em and weep boys...57 mph (that's 50 knots to you and me)!
So there I was...working on the plumbing for the head when I heard the low rumble of thunder. I went up into the cockpit and came face-to-face with a huge freakin' thunderhead coming right at me. It was laced with furious lightning and trailing a dark tail of heavy rain. I knew I didn't have much time.
Mentally running through all the advice I've gotten on Sailnet, I knew exactly what do. I started down my checklist...
1. Unplug the shore power - even though I knew it would be really hot and stinky without the fan and my Barry Manilow record wouldn't play anymore.
2. Batten down the forward hatch so the stereo wouldn't get wet.
3. Put my beer in a drink holder. Put my other beer in the other drink holder.
4. Get the hatchboards ready.
5. Then sit in the cockpit....and wait.
After what seemed like an eternity it hit with a vengeance! Furious winds lashing the yacht! Rain blowing horizontally! 3'-4' confused chop out in the lake with the tops being blown right off! Howling in the rigging like I've never heard! Even with all the sails down, she was still heeling crazily!
After about twenty minues, the wind clocked around 180 degrees - and hit us again. Rain was now lashing into the cabin! I put my beer down again and dropped in the hatch boards, then got back into the fetal position on the cabin sole. You could barely hear my screams of "mama!" above the roar of 50 knots.
It was then I knew I was in the heart of hell.
I also discovered that my yacht leaks like a freakin' sieve...from every conceivable place. It was comical. There's no way I'd ever take the Smacktanic
out in real water. That would be suicide. But, back to the story...
The wind, rain, and lightning slowly started to abate. I knew that she'd stood up to some of the worst weather that lake could throw at her. That proud old C27!
When it was finally over, I rose from the sole, changed my pants, and slowly removed the hatch boards. Squinting, I stepped up into the soaked cockpit to survey the damage. The sun was shining again as the mass of rumbling grey moved to the south.
I inspected the docklines - and found no significant chafing. The bbq cover was a little crooked - and the cabin cover was horribly mussed. The bimini, however, was solid as a rock! I knew I'd been lucky to survive it.
Truly - it was one Big Freakin' Slipper.
Now - as for the lessons learned. After being on a sailing yacht in 50 knots of wind, I think I now understand what it takes to weather a huge storm at sea. And I've got one question for those of you that have been there like me...
ARE YOU GUYS FREAKING INSANE??????? There's NO WAY I'd sail in that crap!!!
Let this be a lesson to all you greenhorn "slippers". Prepare early. Pray hard. Keep and extra pair of pants handy. And remember to tighten your Magma cover.
Here's the S/V Smacktanic
after "The Storm of '09". You'll notice the cabin cover is all bunchy - and the sail covers are REALLY wet. But don't fret - the Manilow CD was just fine. Not even a scratch.
I'm happy to now take questions...