I messed up yesterday.
was for 10-20 mph winds, 30% chance of thunderstorms- our typical summer forecast
. I invited my sister & her friend out for an evening sail. Mysister is a semi experienced boater, who recently had surgery & REALLY needs to get out of the house. Friend has been on boats before, but no real experience. So, I'm basically single
handing, with a bit of help available. No problem.
is a new-to me O'Day 30. The ancient TP5000 tillerpilot picked picked yesterday to stop working. No big deal, we're just going for an easy sail.
out, and I leave the main covered and unroll about 60% of the 150 genny. We're sailing nicely- easy. There is a bit of rain coming, so we put up the canvas
We get hit by a gust, maybe 40mph. I head
up to, expecting the gust to pass. Nope. It's steadily building. Sister is having fun, Friend is not. Friend was not impressed with the sounds of stuff flying around the cabin
(which was only an empty wire spool, but plenty loud.). I'm now forereaching, and we in control. I have sister hold the tiller to leeward so I can play with the sail. I was not strong enough to move the furling
line at all, even after releasing the genny sheet. It's windy at this point. My wind
instrument is inoperative, I estimate force 11.
I sheet the wildly flogging genoa
enough to have control again. It's mostly flogging wildly and shaking the rig pretty well. I do not want to sheet in any more- we are doing OK- even if I'm wrecking a sail. I'm not having any other ideas- I don't want to turn downwind & expose our beam to the wind
, and I don't have canvas
for the stern, so we will be getting pelted by rain, which won't help friend's stress level... I start the motor
so we have more options. We are just making enough way to have steering
. At some point, our lazy sheet pulls free from the boat
, and is now tangled around the working sheet and dragging in the water
. We retrieve and secure it.
After about 20 minutes, the wind starts dropping and I am able to furl the genny. No damage to the people or the boat. The genoa lost
a few stitches on the leach line cleat cover.
A nearby boat recorded 63 mph winds, while in their slip with trees around them. A local park had gusts "over 70". My house is 3 miles from where we were sailing. No wind, little rain. Go figure! Friend's house had a tree come down & smash her shed & deck
. It didn't help her state of mind when hubby called with the news.
Eventually, the clouds parted and we have a beautiful motor
back to our slip.
Lessons I see-
I didn't turn on my VHF
, which might have warned of impending doom. My phone
alerts did not activate or give any warning.
That rain just might be hiding WIND. Consider furling/reefing until I'm sure it's just rain.
At least have a plan to lash the tiller instead of relying on inexperienced hands. (this was not a problem, but it could have been.)
At the first suspicion of WIND, secure the lazy sheet. The figure 8 stopper knot
I had was insufficient.
How can I do better next time?
(When I called my other half after getting home, her words were, "You're not allowed to hurt the boat unless I'm on it." LOL!