I wrote the story below yesterday to my friend Dean moments after coming back to my home on the Rebel Marina aboard the Sailing Vessel Itinerant… I mutated the story a bit (like I do) but believe me, the facts are all there! Anyway here it is…
I delivered a boat to a marina today for a haul out and got deeply humbled by the weather AGAIN!!!
She’s a little S2, 24 foot racing sailboat with no memorable name, “South Wind” or “Weekend Wife” or some shit and we, meaning, me and the guy I’m replacing at my new job, got our asses handed to us on a paper plate!
< "Here, here's your ass, now go over to that corner for a spell and think about how you'd do it differently">
With about 14 long tacks through the bay we flew a 150% Genoa off the fore-deck with the main all the way up, clipping along at a little over 6 knots for most of the day. Although it was really intense looking in the sky the wind and weather were lined up for perfect sailing from Long Bay Point in Virginia Beach Virginia (N 38 degrees 54′.15 W76 degrees 04’25.47) for the first 6 hours. After all that time of what seemed liked no more then a few moments of absolute perfect sailing we approached land and our speed increased to 8 knots on a highly stretched broad reach.
At that point I decided to start the “‘Ol Iron Jib” and round her up into the wind to down sails. Out of no where, and I do mean right (the fuck) now, we got hit by a squall packing about 35 knots of wind with stinging raindrops the size of quarters! As we rounded up into the waves the seas were instantly 4 to 6 feet with a howling misty chop. I climbed up on the fore deck to down the genny as my shipmate took the helm and after about 45 (bone-pounding) seconds I noticed that the “kid” couldn’t quite keep her into the wind and that was why I was getting my ass beat by that big-ass flapping sail. When I looked back to see why I noticed my shipmate hanging over the side of the transom ass-first looking limp!!! I ran back to the cock pit to catch him before he went completely over, lower the main and get us under control when I saw what it was he was doing, he had hit a crap pot as we headed up and the damn thing was fouled up in the prop… Then the big jib that I had left (not quite) secure forward went in the water and we started to heal over with all the weight from the water filled 150% genny, I thought for sure we would be dismasted in the next second!!! After much rodeo style fore-deck highjinx I got the waterlogged sail back up on deck with the weather (of course) getting steadily worse every second of the way. But, just in the nick of time (!What AGAIN!) the “kid” got the engine running and I got the main sail down and we were out of danger just as fast as we got into it.
About45 minutes later we motored into the Dandy Haven Marina in Hampton, VA (N37degrees 05′ 37.79 W76degrees 17′ 51.66) on glass water and soaked to the bone.