While I am reluctant to comment on another’s skippering because by God we’ve all been there, it was quite distressing to watch this fellow beating the crap out of his boat yesterday off Clover Point. It was blowing a stiff gale up Juan de Fuca Strait, and the chop was awful nasty, and this person was beating upwind, presumably to Vic or Esquimalt harbour. Of course in conditions like that he was making zero headway, just taking back and forth in the same spot. Eventually he started his motor and headed into the wind. and there he stood, pitching like hell into the seas, sailings flogging to beat all hell.
Tracy and I watched him for a long time trying to figure out what he was doing, and I could only imagine the bedlam aboard with both sails cracking and banging, while the boat pitched and water ran over their decks. I was wondering if something had gone wrong and whether they needed help as it didn’t make any sense that they were purposefully destroying their sails like that.
Eventually after at least ten minutes of heavy flogging, we watched as their headsail was furled. Perhaps they had been trying to furl the thing all along, mistakenly while heading into the wind rather than off the wind. That they eventually succeeded in that wind I can only think that they used a winch to pull it in.
They tried to carry on just under full main but where still heeling heavily, and someone must have had enough as they then dropped their main.
All in all it was not a pretty sight and I can only imagine the condition of their sails. I wonder what they were doing sailing into winds like that with full main and jib, and why they flogged for so long. Likely inexperience, and it was very discomforting see so much happening that was incorrect, dangerous, and damaging to equipment. You have to learn by doing and I was happy to see that they eventually got it all under control.
What I saw:
I don’t think it is wise to be out in such heavy wind & seas. No matter how seaworthy your vessel is, the way that boat was being knocked around it would have been dangerous for those aboard. equipment can fail and people can slip, stumble or in case of a MOB, recovery would have been a nightmare or even impossible.
Trying furl a genoa while headed into the wind. They should have come off the wind and slackened the sheets to take the load off the furler.
Flogging the hell out of the sails for so long. Maybe they were junk to begin with, but if not before they sure will be now.
Trying to beat upwind in those conditions isn’t going to work.
Too much sail up for the conditions. Maybe they know their own boat, but having full main and genoa up in those winds was far too much.
If they “had” to be out, they should have motored given the forecast conditions.
To repeat, I’m not judging them and I don’t know what was going on in their minds or on their vessel; I only know what it looked like from shore. I can enjoy the gnarly stuff, but when it’s controlled and thoughtful, and it didn’t look like that. If not, here’s hoping they learned a lot from the experience.