Today we met 4 twisters up close and personal. A bit too close and personal for my comfort levels, that is.
Now that I am tied up securely at Syracuse town quay and have had my beer
, I would value people’s insights as too how we might have handled this better/differently and/or insights as to general tactics on meeting these creatures.
The full account, including photo
, is on our blog over here: Twisters! Yikes!
The short version is thus:
We were sailing south along the East coast
from Catania to Syracuse. Wind
at 5kts, was actually 20kts from the East, so we were on a fast beam reach. Radio forecast
was for thunderstorms across the region.
We saw a twister form close to shore, about 2-3 miles 45deg off our starboard bow. A big black cloud with lots of rain was off our starboard quarter, so the twister was at the south end of the cloud. We took a compass
bearing and turned on both engines for more speed, heading 20deg further out to sea.
Fortunately the compass
bearing increased, and we felt relieved that we were leaving it behind.
We then saw another one form, again 2miles off to starboard. We put on our harnesses, and motor
sailed as fast as we could (over 9kts).
We then saw two more form off to starboard – but only 2-300m away. The second one seemed even closer than that. At this point I decided to drop all sails
as I didn’t want to be hit with canvas
up. We continued under motor
in a South East direction. Again, we left them behind, and then the weather
I noticed that the tops of the spouts (where they entered the clouds) were bending off to North. At one point it was quite dramatic. Does that indicate that the systems are moving in that direction? It was very hard to judge what direction they were actually moving, only that their bearings were increasing relative to us. Also hard to judge if they were closing on us, or moving away. I tried to see them on radar
, but it wasn’t obvious – especially with land, rain, another ship and rough water
around us – and I wasn’t calm enough to sit there tweaking the knobs to get a better picture.
In general, is there a principle as to which direction to head
when one sees such spouts forming?
Any other comments on how to manage the situation?
One thing I can tell you – it is pretty spooky watching these things just appear out of nowhere, wondering if the next one was going to appear right in front of us.