A little incident
13 May 2012 | Anchored at the Marquesas Islands French Polynesia Nuka Hiva
It was supposed to be an easy overnight sail from Hiva Oa to Nuka Hiva. That was the plan, and it actually started out that way.
We started out motoring to charge the batteries in expectation of making water all night. It was good because we passed in the wind shadow of the island. About an hour into the trip we raised the main and set the jib for a nice broad reach. Wind was 12 knots. Kent had the watch and the rest of us went to bed. It didn't last long. After I was sound asleep the boat rolled hard to port and everything loose in the boat flew across to the low side. We all began getting up. This involves getting dressed. Then the mainsail backwinded and rolled hard to starboard. Kent was yelling that he couldn't hold the course. It is pitch black outside and blowing hard...very hard. No one read the wind meter. We all stopped getting dressed and just got up on deck to shorten sail. In pitch blackness we managed to roll up the jib but it wasn't pretty. The top half had an "aneurysm" and was flapping (but small and flapping). No matter. We turned into the wind and reefed the mainsail. That was also not pretty when done, but we did get it done. With the shorter sail the boat behaves a lot better. That is the positive way to say that until we got the jib in and the main reefed, the boat was pretty uncontrollable. Kent was struggling with the wheel trying hard but with only a little success. Our heading was varying 90 degrees. We did manage not to gybe a second time. The wind also helped after a while. It subsided to about 22 knots apparent. Since we were sailing on a broad reach, the true wind was higher than that. We used the lighter wind to pull out the jib and re-roll it and then we all went back to bed going slower with only a double reefed main but content with anything that retained directional control. An easy night watch is a treasure.
We sailed all night till first light on the double reefed main alone. There are old sailors and bold sailors but no old bold sailors. We had had enough.
The photo is taken at the anchorage at Nuku Hiva.