Originally Posted by Palarran
Rovin, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and I'm sorry for the loss of your mate. I remember reading about it many years ago.
I was wondering about a few things. Your conditions were much worse but on my crossing from the Caribbean
we got stuck in above 40 knot
winds for 72 hours. For almost 24 of those the winds were nearly constant at 50. During that period, we motored directly into the seas with both engines at about 3 knots SOG. Any less than that we would lose steering
and over that we would slam off the tops of the swells hard. It was very difficult to keep a straight course at night.
So a question, did you try motoring direct into the seas at any time?
On the last day of our gale, we turned and started running towards Africa
. We had just a hanky of jib
out and the wind
had dropped to 40 knots so much different conditions. Our boat angle was about 120 degrees to wind
and waves. Again, they were smaller swells (big as F*&^ in my eyes at the time though :-) ) but our speed didn't go over 5 knots and we seldom surfed.
Another question, did you run dead down wind or at an angle?
My last question may be in the video but, How did you get out of the boat?
I'll add that I can appreciate your view of the waves from the stern filling up your vision. My mate and I laughed that if you stood in the sliding door way there were times that all you could see was the wave, no sky, and then sky, no wave.
Thank you again for sharing. FWIW, I have seen many catamarans with their life rafts cut into the corner of the trampoline so if inverted you would remove it from the bottom of the tramp. It's like 50% above and below the tramp. Pretty smart way to do it IMO.
To answer your first question yes we did. We motor
sailed into the wind at the closest angle we could because that was a course to get into Bermuda
as quick as possible. We did this for 3 days and made progress I am not sure what our SOG was but it sounds about the same. But Monday morning when the other system moved in the winds went from the 30-35kt constant to 50-55kt constant in about 4 hours. Like I said before the gust that we were seeing pushed through about 63kts. The waves changed mood very quickly in that 4 hour period. I first started noticing breakers around 10:00 am, we had already decided to turn and run by then (i think early morning).
There was no way those engines were going to push us up those faces. It keeps coming back to the period of the waves, it was very short. They waves became walls and all the waves became breakers. This may have contributed to my survival, there was no doubt in my mine by 12:00 pm that we were not going to get out alive. So i took measures early to TRY to see if I could pull it off.
We ran from the waves i believe in the same manner as you did on the starboard quarter. But our speeds were frightening (different boat, weight, who knows) our boat was a delivery
with nothing on it accept for our clothes, food
. No dingy, electronics
, genset, water
maker etc. One of the many reasons that Steve passed is because he was driving for a long period of time trying steer down the faces of these waves and with the speed not bury the bows.
When I spoke in length to the CG after the accident
their ground radar
from the C-130 confirmed 35-45 footers. I also did find out some disheartening info from them...The helicopter was considering aborting because they felt that their swimmer was being put into too much danger
To answer your last question. This was one of those "jesus christ" moments where it is fused in my DNA.
On the Lagoon 380
and other catamarans there are escape hatches
somewhere in both hulls. As a lot of people especially, when you charter
them will see these hatches and think "oh that's a cool window or whatever" and I was one of these people until the moment when Steve yelled "grad the ditch bag we will be behind you." I ran to the escape hatch
and all of the writing on the hatch
Meaning now it was right side up..."jesus christ"
I'll never forget that. It was the true start to the rabbit hole of emotions that i would fall down over the next 30-40 minutes until I pulled myself out and got my **** together.
And to add to that I remember standing on the dock
looking over the boat in France
and thinking "why are there D rings next to those windows??"
When I opened that hatch that beautiful Dring was the first thing I saw looking left. Hooked my life line on and out I went.