Last week I bought the movie White Squall, with Jeff Bridges. It is based upon a true story about the Brigantine Albatross. Everyone on the ship had some sort of hang-up or phobia which made for a crazy mix. It took most of the movie to get to the serious sailing, but when it did, it went ballistic.
Has anyone else seen this movie, and what did you think of it.
Long time ago. Can't remember much. But the "white squall" it self was overdone as I remember, but a perfect name to sell tickets.
After watching the movie, I did some searches on White Squalls. Apparently they are rare in the ocean but more common on large lakes. The name comes from the white foam and whitecaps created by very strong winds. Also, it is said they appear extremely fast without the black clouds usually associated with storms.
In the movie, the Albatross only capsized because the captain would not allow the crew to go aloft and furl the sails due to the frequent nearby lightning strikes. Also, the helmsman tried to turn into the wind in direct opposition to the captain's orders. If the ship is in irons, with the wind directly abeam and a full set of sails up, it wouldn't take that much to blow it over.
In about 1978 I had a 18' Phoenix racing Cat. I took it up to lake Conroe, North of Houston. I took my wife and young daughter for a sail on a bright sunny day with clear skies. Halfway across lake Conroe, a violent storm came up out of nowhere in just a few minutes. The wind was very strong. I tried three times to tack back to the shore and got in irons each time. Other boats nearby couldn't help because they were also clearly in trouble. Finally I just dropped the main and the jib swung us around and took us straight downwind to the far shore. Fortunately, the Phoenix had very wide rounded hulls and dagger boards, so the cat did not dive deep enough to cartwheel. We came close, with green water halfway to the mast, but stayed upright.
It wasn't until I saw this movie and researched White Squalls that I realize that was probably what that 1978 storm was.