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Old 08-05-2016, 15:46   #1
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Location: west Fl., Tampa Bay,
Boat: '76 Heritage West Indies 36 Morgan design
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Airborne, 35 ft drop

1981,.. island hopping down the my 1971 35 ft Morgan CB sloop,
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 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..
clean warm gin clear water, coral, abundant fish, lobster, beautiful beaches, great anchorages, sailing the Bahamas , Caribbean again, soon...
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Old 08-05-2016, 16:00   #2
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Re: Airborne, 35 ft drop

Originally Posted by JTHAW View Post
,..... whew...young and stupid..
Seems like you recognized the origins of your mistake and hopefully no latent damages to surprise you one day.

What amazes me is that otherwise intelligent sailors repeatedly make the same mistake when they get into that racing mindset.
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