1981,.. island hopping down the Windward-Leewards...in my 1971 35 ft Morgan
we leave St Lucia
headed south to St Vincent, big ocean winter trades...
typical winter trades...20-28 knots...puffy cumulus clouds...sunny....but,
Giant, huge 35 foot ocean rolling seas abeam, we had a thrilling beam reach at over hull speed
, with a double reefed main, 90% working jib
, 7.5 to 8 knots boat speed...
HUGE rollers unimpeded,... all the way from Africa
...30 foot to 35 foot tall seas...
no white water
, no breaking waves, the tops of the seas were 20 yards across, with gigantic troughs....
So...on top of a huge 35 ft roller, the wind
gusts to 28...my fearless steed heels hard over and accelerates to 8 plus knots....foolishly,...with adrenaline pumping...I let the wheel
slip through my fingers as she accelerates to windward,.. now with the gust forward of the beam.....My 13000 lb sloop
literally shoots off the top of this roller....only the rudder
in the back of the sea...AIRBORNE...!!!
the bow drops like a stone, anchor
spit first; heading straight down into the huge gaping trough!!! a 35 foot drop... on the 3rd second an immense bangcrash like I'd never heard before...but the kicker
was this...standing at the helm
, I could see at impact, the entire length of the interior
; the boat bent like a banana!...the whole forepeak bent at impact what seemed like 3ft...I can still see it ,36 years later...a frozen picture in time...
we kept sailing at hull speed
to anchorage in the lee of St Vincent...the boat was a mess inside...everything had been dumped onto the sole...with anchor
down and all quiet...I jumped into the avon
dink to inspect the impact point...
on the port side forward at the bow...a hairline gelcoat
crack, a 6 ft. half moon arc
encompassing the whole forward topside...
No other damage seen in the ensuing 2 and a 1/2 years sailing, Island hopping all the way back to Ft Lauderdale... whew...young and stupid..