Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From the Archives: Over the Top!

I woke up on Sunday morning about 5:30 and took a look at the wind online. It was over 30 and gusting to almost 50 at Angel. I headed up to the boat and fixed a nice french toast breakfast. At around 8am, I headed out with all my foulies on after taking a good look at the south wind. It looked like an above average summer day as far as wind speed. As I entered the channel, I put out a little bit of jib to help me out. As I hit the end of the channel it was already at 30 knots. We (me and the boat) blasted straight out and the speedo was hitting 6.5 to 7 with just a sliver of a jib. Gusts were in the 40 range easy. About half way out, I noticed that with the wind direction and the current, we were in a lee shore with the Berkeley Pier. I needed to keep an eye on that. I let out a little more jib to give me a little more power. As I reached the end of the pier, the winds were easily topping 50 in the gusts. The boat was handling it well. It was only getting wilder so it was time to tack. Getting the boat to turn into the wind is no easy task with this much pressure on the boat. I got her around and needed to trim in the sheets and make sure the boat got going back into the wind. No easy task and I was huffing and puffing as I finished the tack. This was the windiest day I have ever been out on!! And I was loving it. Knowing that we had recently refreshed all the standing rigging gave me confidence that the rig could take the pounding. Going back in, I didn't have to worry about the pier as I was headed away from it on this tack. Hey what's this, blue sky to the south and the rain is letting up a little. The wind keep building with each tack and each tack became more difficult. I did about eight tacks out and back to the end of the pier and then to the channel makers. About 1.5 miles each way. At 9:30 I felt as if I had accomplished my mission and headed back to the slip. I was motoring into the wind and just praying our little 14 horse diesel would get me back in. She did of course and I am happy to say it was a great feeling to know our little boat could handle the monster winds of this storm! I would say the winds were 30-40 with gusts to 50 in the area I was sailing. It was an awesome feeling to be out there in that weather!

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