Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southern California
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Re: Big Freakin' Sails
51 knots microburst single handing in a Schock Harbor 25 !
Here is the customer email:
The microburst on June 24th was related to a severe weather system which produced heavy rain and hail. It ruined more than $100,000,000 of crops in the sector south of the lake. I was lucky, no rain, hail or lightning. If the midst of it all, I am happy not to have been the only boat with a mast standing in a severe T-Storm!
The wind hit with no warning. To the West the horizon was grey but nothing nasty looking. Sailing close hauled in 10-12 Kts when kaboom.
Knocked flat as you'd imagine. Uncleated the sails - jib flogged like mad. Beam to the wind tried to reef the jib, outhaul snapped. Reefed but with nothing to secure it, the flogging continued. Funny thing was that before the blast hit, I could see sails around the lake. Immediately after, I was the only one!
Still had the full main, could not contemplate trying to reef. An autopilot would have been very useful, but letting go of the tiller was not an option.
With no jib, weather helm even with the main sheeted out was pronounced to say the least. Used the engine to help turn the boat and put the wind almost dead astern. Then began the sleigh ride.
WInd dropped to 35-40 Kts but was sustained. Wild surfing and two hands on the tiller fighting weather helm.
I swore I was bending the tiller. I have never been this fast in a keel-boat in my life. I managed 13 Kts surfing in my Jeanneau 45.3 a few years back but on a 25 footer... wow. While the ride was thrilling, I was worried about the rudder and the mast. Full main with that much wind, well you can imagine the rest. After the fact, I wish someone had a video, I'd love to see what my boat looked like surfing at that speed.
It looked and felt like most of the hull was out of the water but fairly level fore and aft. In spite of the waves (they built instantly, the lake is shallow, average depth only about
13 feet), I was leaving a wake like a power boat.
My compliments, you build a very strong boat! Likewise to your sailmakers - The main took the stress without damage.
I felt bad not being able to help overturned and or dismasted boats as I flew by, but stopping was not an option. The radio was crackling with distress calls and I was happy to see various police and CG rescue boats headed for the disabled craft.
I entered the harbor of the yacht club leaving a heck of a wake but further in was somewhat sheltered and I was able to nose up to a dock into the wind and with some help from folks ashore drop my mainsail.
Final tally, a busted outhaul, a hole in the jib and the clew torn and mangled. Nothing much considering the circumstances.
Not bad for a small daysailer