The Charleston Race
Week this year had very blustery weather
. On the final day, all races were cancelled except the Pursuit class, which, I guess, started first, since it was mostly older, slower boats.
The winds started out in the 20-25 knot
range, quickly built up to 30 knots, and ended up blowing 40 knots. The course was offshore
I stayed in the marina that day (we weren't racing). We saw some boats come in beat up and damaged. And then the winner of the Pursuit class came in- a 1964 Pearson
Vanguard! They had no damage at all. The crew said the tops of the genoa
winches were sometimes underwater.
According to the race
website, a 56' Swan dropped out in that class when they got to Fort Sumter- before they even got out of the harbor.
On the dock
that day, I told my wife that was the most wind
I had ever felt outside of a hurricane
. That made me start thinking about how much wind
I'd ever been out in (sustained, not just in a squall). So I Googled up the Beaufort
Scale and looked at the photos of sea state. From those photos, I guess I was out once in Force 8 in an old Dufour
I never would have guessed the wind was really blowing that hard on that trip, because the old Dufour
didn't seem to mind at all. We just shortened sail and kept sailing. The tiller pilot steered without a problem.
I've always been a bit skeptical of those "blue water
boat" discussions, but maybe some of those reputations actually have more merit than I realized.
(By the way, a Pearson
Vanguard and a Dufour Arpege have virtually nothing in common, except that if you poke around on the Internet
, they both have good reps as "blue water" boats.)
For what that's worth...