Sailing Into the Storm
|Coastal Crew: Cranston, Morgan, Niko and Cory|
|Visiting pod of Dahl's Porpoise's|
The gradual onset of the storm was a perfect intro to heavy weather sailing. Winds built on the evening Sept. 6th from 10 kts to 20 kts and seas grew accordingly to 5-7 ft. By noon the following day the wind had increased to 25-28 kts and seas had grown quickly to 9-10 ft. By early afternoon the waves had taken on a new look with large sets of 20 ft waves picking up Agamere and rushing past her. The effect on deck was one of awe - intense wave watching all day. The crew was officially in the biggest Pacific Ocean waves of their life!
As the evening progressed, the winds picked up continually until we were seeing 28-34 kts of wind and gusts up to 40 kts. The waves just kept towering higher and higher and started to blow over at the top. It was most impressive.
Heading into dusk as a storm is peaking is certainly not for the faint of heart! The four of us sat together in the waning light wondering what the starry night would bring (I liked to think of it as Disneyland's Space Mountain ride on acid). Suddenly we realized that a larger wave had picked up our fully reefed 40,000 lb boat and we were momentarily surfing at 15 kts (twice our avg cruising speed)! It was the perfect parting gift of this particular windstorm. Our eyes were wide and our adrenaline was running thick.
After exiting the windstorm, the waves took about twelve hours to settle down at which point we were able to head directly East towards San Francisco between beautiful, large, well spaced swells with full sails up and 15 kts of breeze (which seemed suddenly like child' s play). We unwound, ate real food including the delicious tuna Cory had caught just as the storm was picking up, and reveled in our new found experience - both humbled and impressed by the Pacific Ocean.