The morning of 6/30/12 found Kris at the wheel and the boat moving at 3 to 4 knots, we only had 8 to 10 knots of winds.  When we say morning, we mean 12:01, just after midnight. 

We left Norfolk, VA on June 28th and headed north with light winds - sailed all day and all night and all day the 29th, pleasant sailing, slow but gentle seas.  Then it all changed.  Dean had just gone off watch, and Kris came on at midnight.  Some lightning developed towards shore and the winds built. 

Kris got Dean up and we lowered the spinnaker.  The winds were about 16 knots, so we put up the jib and were moving about 3.5 knots boat speed.
The lightning got worse, and closer, so all hatches were closed, and the wind built to 20 knots.    We normally can run with just our jib up to 35 to 40 knots.

Dean seeing and hearing the lightning, got up - and then it hit.   It went from 20 knots to 50 to 60 knots within minutes.  Not enough time to get the jib down, and it wasn't safe to go forward to wrestle it.
The lightning was all around us, sheet lightning, bead lightning, ribbon lightning and strike lightning.  So much lightning, it was like being in a room with a strobe light.

The winds blew  for about an hour at 50 to 60 knots, with some gusts over 60 knots.  The seas went from 2 feet to 10 feet in a matter of minutes.
For the second hour the winds were 35 to 50 knots, and the third hour they dropped down to about 25 knots.  By the 4th hour, the seas were down to 3 to 4 feet, and the winds around 20.  lt  was all we could do was make sure we headed out to sea, and not to shore.  The jib was still up, but not for long - the halyard parted and it came down, which was better, as it was not flogging around anymore.

We listened to the VHF radio, and the Coast Guard was kept busy with several emergency calls.  We, luckily were not one of them.

This morning, we surveyed the damage, and found several small seams had ripped in the jib, and the camber spar for our jib, which is a 2" diameter aluminum tube, was quite bent.  We will have to replace the camber spar (can't be fixed), sew the jib seams, and somehow feed a new jib halyard line, which we hope will not be too hard.  There is also some damage at the top of the mast, but we haven't gone up yet to check it out.

This is the second time this month we have had hurricane force winds, with no hurricane.  If we had a choice, we would never experience that again.  Now we are sitting here at anchor in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. with it all behind us - except for the repairs of course.

 

 

 

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Update: 06/30/12 The Blow

Strike lightning

Cloud to cloud lightning

Bead lightning

Ribbon lightning
   
   
   
What's it like being in 50 to 60 knots of wind?

- you can't see more than 100 feet in any direction
-the rain and hail come sideways and they hurt
-the noise is sooo loud you have to yell to be heard