A DIFFICULT NIGHT
15 November 2011 | closing in on Durban, 370 miles to go
All the weather forecasters were wrong! Yesterday evening came with the calm assurances that the front that was headed from the coast would not reach my position. Well, it was not to be. On the stroke of midnight the moderate wind out of the west transformed as the front approached. Before I knew it I was hit with 30 knot winds out of the south west....another SWester! but this time much bigger. For the next 7 hours, the wind ranged between 25 and 30+ knots. Unfortunately, the seas transformed as well until we had 20+ foot seas making this a maelstrom that will be difficult to forget. In order to slow down from the 15 knots Shearwater was reaching out went two warps, then a third. And finally, when she still was too fast, I braved the violently rocking boat and breaking waves and took down the main. By this time it was 4 AM. I rested until daylight to find an angry, nasty ocean that I had only seen the outlines of during the night.
It is interesting to note a difference between my monohull friends also in the same maelstrom, and Shearwater. When they become overwhelmed they 'heave-to' - means stop the boat and sit. Unfortunately, on a catamaran, one has to do the opposite....one has to 'run' with the storm - extremely tiring.
While Shearwater did very well, and sustained no damage, it has emphasized the vulnerability of the situation. This place down here next to the notorious southern ocean is...well powerful, wild and completely unpredictable.
Ah, to be sitting in an armchair in front of a crackling fire........
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