Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Callao, VA
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts
Rep Power: 11
It seems that if you heard thunder, had time to check Sirius and still had 5 minutes before the wind hit....you have all the tools needed. You need to act, at the first clap of thunder or sight of lightning.
These "storms" are every day happenings on Chesapeake Bay, and here is what we do.
As we sail, we scan the whole circle of influence our boat has, we are seldom surprised to see a cell or wall of dark clouds. When we do see it, we generally go to storm mode..stow and secure everything. By then we have assessed our position and have part B of the plan ready...start the engine, strike and secure the mainsail (if need be) and then the jib sheet rolled in. As we almost always wear a PFD, that is done. The wife again checks the security of things above and below and closes the companionway completely. Stands by safely in the cockpit.
By now rain and wind are happening and we either head in to the wind or the waves, which ever is most comfortable and safe. IF we thought it was a minor cell, and we still have the jib out, we run with the wind, as long as the waves are not breaking or following too close.
We NEVER take what the USCG or NWS say about weather as gospel, as NEITHER are on the boat with us, moreover they are seldom, if ever accurate. Why is it their deal to make your decisions.
One more thing, screw the electronic toys...your survival depends on what you DO or don't do...the ipad or plotter doesn't float and if you take a lightning hit, you better know how to navigate your area, or heave to, or make minimal headway in to the cell...
Sorry to be so blunt, but you put way too much faith in your tools, toys, and Sirius. Thunder or lightning should cause an immediate reaction...and I don't mean to look at the Sirius. As they say in flying ..aviate, navigate and communicate...in sailing it might be sail the boat, sail the boat and use your situational awareness to sail the boat. Anything else will take away from that goal.