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Caught in a Storm

Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Raced on Galveston Bay last Sunday. Forecast was for 30% chance of thunderstorms. It looked like a passing shower on the second leg, In about five minutes it turned into a super cell exploding in size over the top of us.
I'm sure we did a lot wrong and Captain Flawless and Captain Obvious will be glad to point out the mistakes. The video is quite dramatic, so putting it out there anyway. Action starts about two minutes in.
 
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Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Wow! Looks like fun! :facepalm: It seemed you had a lot of difficulty rolling in your head sail & getting main sail fully down. (I had sound turned low - could not hear commentary) Did you wait just a tad too long? I liked your response at about 4:54 .... when all else fails, have a beer! ;)

I think we've all been there!
 
Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Yes, waited just a tad too long. We were in the middle of reefing the main and watching the J/105 a half mile in front of us. As soon as I saw him lay down, I turned on the motor and said take down the main and furl the jib. I thought we would have a minute or two, nope. And several crew didn’t put on PFD’s, big mistake. Before and after the 10 minutes of storm, it was a beautiful day with under 10 knot wind.
 
Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Yes, any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. I need to double check, but only apparent damage besides years of extra wear added to the sails, is the wind transducer. Hope it comes back on after it dries out, but slim chance. Catalina about a half mile west saw +50 knots. He hove to almost on his side. We never heeled much.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,801
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Exciting video Bill. I am guessing, seeing the weather developing and the fact that the crew thought it time to put on their rain coats, putting on your PFD's at the same time would have been wise. Nothing like trying to capture a mainsail blowing in a breeze strong enough to cause you to lower the sail, out on top of the cabin without a PFD.

You did a lot of things right. I see you congratulated each other. It is this type of shared experience that works out, which strengthens the bonds and skills of a crew.

The beer was a just reward for the helmsman. I wondered, if it was there through out the storm and had been watered down through the squall.

Bet it still tasted sweet.
 
Nov 3, 2018
62
Cape Dory, Albin 300ms Motorsailer, Vega Baltimore
Thanks for posting the video Bill. Seeing that big dark cloud coming at me the pucker factor would have been intense. I’m sure you learned some lessons for next time but the important thing is you made it back to the dock with no major damage to crew or boat. Your crew was even smiling and laughing so good job.

I liked the shot from up the mast of the spinnaker unfurling- how did you take it?
 
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Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Thanks for posting the video Bill. Seeing that big dark cloud coming at me the pucker factor would have been intense. I’m sure you learned some lessons for next time but the important thing is you made it back to the dock with no major damage to crew or boat. Your crew was even smiling and laughing so good job.
Yes, several lessons learned. Things will be different next time a storm is close, it probably won't keep me at the dock, but PFD's will go on sooner and sails furled sooner.

I have about ten POV cameras, one is mounted to the mainsail headboard most races. I try to use as many shots from it in my videos as I can, but most of the time it just films the top 3 feet of the main. Sometimes I get lucky and it catches clips of close crosses and passes. Check out some of the other race videos on the channel.
https://www.youtube.com/user/tnick340
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,985
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Yes, waited just a tad too long. We were in the middle of reefing the main and watching the J/105 a half mile in front of us. As soon as I saw him lay down, I turned on the motor and said take down the main and furl the jib.
We had a similar experience on Gardiner's Bay in an Off Soundings Regatta. We had a reef in the main because it had been breezy. But that died and I was about to take it out when one of the crew noted that boats ahead of us were severely heeled. A cauldron of water and wind was upon us in no time. The reef stayed in and the jib was furled. The skipper said "Are we still racing." I said F*** no. Started the engine and turned the boat off the wind, which was dicey. The first wave we went down I thought the bow would continue to stick in the bottom. It didn't but the next hour was about the most scared I've been on a boat, without my older brothers on board.
 
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Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
You did a lot of things right. I see you congratulated each other. It is this type of shared experience that works out, which strengthens the bonds and skills of a crew.

The beer was a just reward for the helmsman. I wondered, if it was there through out the storm and had been watered down through the squall.

Bet it still tasted sweet.
Thanks for your comments. Yes Several without PFD's. Big mistake, things will be different next race or cruise.
It was not watered down, fresh out of the reefer, yes it did taste sweet. But that was an exception. We have done really well limiting alcohol on the boat. Most of the crew and I don't have a beer until we are well into the last leg or for a toast when we cross the finish. I will have an N/A during a race if I just need the taste.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,801
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
We have done really well limiting alcohol on the boat.
I enjoy a shot of good rum when I’m anchored or tied up at the marina after a days cruise. While I enjoy a good cold beer or a glass of good wine, when cruising, I wait till we are secure for the evening. When I race I am too busy / focused on sail trim, wind puffs, competition to enjoy a beer.
I understand your set up. Liked the way you focused on the task of controlling the boat when all looks like it is coming apart. Nice job.

In pilot training they emphasized:
when dealing with an emergency break out the check list and have you copilot work the problem. The primary job of the pilot is to FLY THE PLANE!
 
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Feb 14, 2014
5,619
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
Ahh the famous WIND KNOT... seen on Video at 3:20+

WIND KNOTs are easily tied and not so easily undone.

My best one was the Boom lift excess line, wrapped a "Hangman's noose" around my Jib sheet, as we tried to manage a furling, in a similar squall.
Jim...
 

RoyS

.
Jun 3, 2012
1,158
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Where was the camera mounted that shot from behind the boat?
 
Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
In pilot training they emphasized:
when dealing with an emergency break out the check list and have you copilot work the problem. The primary job of the pilot is to FLY THE PLANE!
Too many cameras to mess with and great shots to get, commonly heard on my boat during a race: "Steer the damn boat, Bill!"
 
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Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Ahh the famous WIND KNOT... seen on Video at 3:20+

WIND KNOTs are easily tied and not so easily undone.

My best one was the Boom lift excess line, wrapped a "Hangman's noose" around my Jib sheet, as we tried to manage a furling, in a similar squall.
Jim...
Reefing lines on the leech are a problem on my boat when the main is coming down in strong winds.
I need to figure out what to do with the jib sheets to keep that "WIND KNOT" from happening again. A figure 8 works almost everywhere else, but it is too small, it just flies through the block on the track. A bigger knot will will hurt someone swinging around on the end of the line.
 
Jan 22, 2008
758
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Where was the camera mounted that shot from behind the boat?
There is a strut made from 3/4" galvanized conduit zip tied to the stern pulpit. It isn't pretty, but it has held up and does the job. It has been "removed" by close port tackers a time or two. Yes, that is a very close crossing to get to that camera. Usually seven POV cameras mounted on the boat for a race, and three mounted on a Hunter 40 when he races against me. One race back in April, we had 14 cameras counting the one in the drone.

IMG_0010.jpg
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,801
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Does that mean your boat is a 344 on race day... You could be racing under the wrong PHRF rating.

When the any part of the boat is struck is that a foul? Worth a protest?
 
Apr 8, 2011
461
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
I enjoy a shot of good rum when I’m anchored or tied up at the marina after a days cruise. While I enjoy a good cold beer or a glass of good wine, when cruising, I wait till we are secure for the evening. When I race I am too busy / focused on sail trim, wind puffs, competition to enjoy a beer.
I understand your set up. Liked the way you focused on the task of controlling the boat when all looks like it is coming apart. Nice job.

In pilot training they emphasized:
when dealing with an emergency break out the check list and have you copilot work the problem. The primary job of the pilot is to FLY THE PLANE!
I second jssailem's reference to a pilot training dictum: "Aviate (fly the plane/control the boat), navigate, communicate" - in that order of importance when things get dicey. Only one of those three will kill you, so its best to focus on that when all else goes to hell.

Nice job managing the situation, BTW. I had a similar experience with the gust front from a thunderstorm that hit in advance all of a sudden. the bearings on my jib furler exploded when it was 3/4 of the way furled, which unfurled it completely and wouldn't allow me to furl. Then the fun began with all sails fully up. When I tried to go forward to undo a wind knot, the knot at the end of the jib sheet hit me in my ballistic sunglasses, tossing them overboard (but saving my eye). I retreated to the cockpit, turned her downwind, blanketed the jib with the main, and on autopilot went forward and dropped the jib to the deck and stuffed most of it down the forward hatch. Then I was able to roll up the main. I'll drop sails earlier next time too ;). Its simply amazing how quickly things can go bad at the blistering speed of 7 mph.
 
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