We were caught in a gale without power
and no comms. We're about 2 mile out from myers city dock
when it hit like a sledge hammer to the face.
was up, sail was not reefed, and anchor
was on deck
. We were parallel to marker 60 and the edison bridge. My instructor was missing his chart for the Cahullahatchi River. So we knew nothing of water depth
which is scary anyway.
We were hit by 50 to 70mph winds for about an hour and half. We dump the the jib
and began to tack as it pushed us closer and closer towards the bridge. The jib slapped wildly accross the deck
until it eventually wrapped around itself.
We tacked endlessly from oneside of the river to the other but the hull speed
could in no way match the wind
. We were pushed back further and further until we were a mere 15-20 yards from hitting the bridge pillars at probably 15 to 20 knotts.
We were heeled over 30 degrees to the rail was completely submerged and the would dump the wind
. It was endless tacking trying desperately not to have to jibe because we knew we would be f**ked.
Then there was a brief window when the winds subsided to 15-25 mph and I yelled lets get our asses up wind and back to marker 60. We decided i would try to deploy the anchor
and and also try to take down the jib.
The anchor was tangled around a stantion and hangin below the boat
the 5-8 ft waves would not allow me to untangle it. We had one anchor and I could not just let it go. So I moved on to the jib. The jib was hopeless it was knotted and tangled and it was what it was but we were moving upwind almost to where we were when it began.
The 2nd wave of the storm hit and it was worse than the 1st. We fought back and forth with no to low visibility trying to spot and avoid manatee zone and unlit marker signs.
This was crazy.