The Big Blue

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Election Day

08 November 2012 | Pangaimotu Tonga
Mark
Well, we got it. Shortly after writing yesterday's blog post, the sky darkened and sheet lightning flashed to the southwest of us. The sky was steel grey-green. Thunder roared but not in big bangs. Instead it was more of a constant rumble with a few louder segue's between. The wind built to 30 knots�....35 knots, but was bowing at us from the NE and we were tucked in tight behind Pangaimotu. I had just ladled out two large bowls of fish chowder and we were about to sit down to dinner at the table. Just as I was beginning to feel as though the fronts would pass just south of us, I poked my head out the companionway and spotted a dark menacing blackness coming at us fast from the northwest and bringing with it a wall of rain. I yelled down the companionway for Lolo to quickly dump the soup bowls back into the pan and she just made it before we were hit with a 45-knot blast from the west. The boat heeled violently as the table and shelves dumped their contents onto the floor. I held onto the dodger supports as Lolo picked up fruit that rolled across the cabin sole. "Hang on!" I yelled again as a huge violent gust plastered Radiance. The air was filled with flying water as I hunkered behind the canvas dodger and noted the wind strength on the NKE instruments at 74 knots. All I could do was hang on and watch as Radiance spun and veered helplessly. The beach loomed close now; too close as we'd set our second anchor inshore to deal with the NE winds and it now hung limp with the nearly 180 degree wind shift. Luckily the main anchor held fast. In a few minutes the VHF crackled to life as the nearby boats checked in. Francina from Ntombi spoke in short, out of breath sentences saying "we've just lost our wind generator." Evangeline reported "we've just lost our windex and tricolor off the top of the mast." Marcel from Ty Amien said their anchor had dragged about 40 meters, but was holding now. Wondertime jumped in and yelled "we're dragging, we're dragging. I think we're dragging!" But their anchor caught again. Karin from Moonwalker reported only losing their favorite bucket in the blast. Luckily, we had no damage save for some jittery nerves. The barometer was at 999mb and in less than 1 minute, had jumped to 1003mb. Lolo even felt her ears pop. The wind was around 30 knots and blew until about 8pm, then settled and died almost completely. The moon was out and we could see lots of stars. With the huge tropical depression over the top of us, it appeared we might be in the eye�....which meant the other side of the storm would pass over us at some point. Lolo and I finally ate our soup and watched Thor Hyerdale's Kon Tiki on the laptop, and then decided to get some sleep before the maelstrom hit again. At 02:20, rain foretold its coming. We watched the wind build back to 30, 35 and 40 knots with gusts up to 45. The barometer had dropped again and we took turns at anchor watch monitoring our position in the dark against the other boats anchor lights. At 05:30 the sky began to lighten, but we still were dealing with 30-40 knots of wind. Tuning into the net this morning we learned of an unregistered EPIRB that was activated in the night about 120 miles south of here. We also learned that the vessel Windigo had rolled in 10 meter seas and 40-50 knots, lost her mast, had injured crew and was taking on water through damaged hatches. They activated their EPIRB and another sailing vessel, Adventure Bound had bravely turned into the storm to attempt a rescue. This is not the kind of weather window we want to be caught in and we'll be using extreme caution in planning our passage to New Zealand even if it means waiting much longer here. But I'll sleep much better when this low is well away from us!
Comments
Vessel Name: Radiance
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First456
Hailing Port: Seward, AK
Crew: Mark Ward, Laurence
About:
M [...]
Extra:
Radiance is a German Frers designed Beneteau First456 sloop. She has the deep lead fin keel and tall rig. She competes in the local sailing regattas and had taken top honors in all events on multiple occasions. Laurence and Mark have returned from a 2.5 year blue water cruise that essentially [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/thebigblue/?show=profile
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Radiance's Photos - Main
1 Photo
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crew
 
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Pics from s/v Radiance visit to Fiji, 2013
71 Photos
Created 22 June 2013
Misc photos from Bay of Islands, New Zealand
49 Photos
Created 18 February 2013
Cruising Bay of Islands and driving about the North Island.
100 Photos
Created 14 January 2013
Opua, Whangarei, Karikari, etc.
39 Photos
Created 4 December 2012
32 Photos
Created 22 November 2012
91 Photos
Created 1 November 2012
49 Photos
Created 19 October 2012
S/V Radiance in Niuatoputapu
12 Photos
Created 19 October 2012
s/v Radiance photos of Fanning
47 Photos
Created 4 October 2012
s/v Radiance Photos of Suwarrow visit
40 Photos
Created 3 October 2012
29 Photos
Created 3 October 2012
Radiance in Palmyra, Aug, 2012
45 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
18 Photos
Created 29 July 2012
Photos beginning May 2012, Departing Seward Alaska - heading south.
12 Photos
Created 10 June 2012