Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trouble in the Ionian

2012 08 07
Ormos Ornos, Mykonos, Greece

Seeing This Thing Tracking You Down at Sea Can Really Take the Edge Off
anotherwise ok day.  This was Only One of the buggers -  the Port Side Thug
About 125 miles into the Ionian sea enroute to Greece out of Hammamet we hit some bad weather.  Wind turned to 25 knots on the nose and waves started slapping us back and sucking away our forward progress.

We did what we always do in these circumstances.  We hove to and waited for the unforecast aberration to pass.  That took twelve hours.but finally the wind died.  Almost instantly the wind dropped from 20 + to near zero.  No longer hove to as there was no wind to pin us our boat started to slog about in the sloppy sea left over by the newly absent wind..  

Here was the Starboard TCU (towering cumulous)
As I was about to start the diesel so we could maintain some steerage and cut the wild gyrating of the boat in the slop the BC said to me "You better look behind you".  

Well.  The blackest sky you can imagine pinned on two sides by thundercells. The sky beneath the malevolent pavillion was that greeny yellowy tornado colour.  We battened down as best we could in the few seconds available to us, turned the boat south east and goosed the diesel.  No good.  The two Tcell pillars had us braced and we could not get out.  

And in Between they Joined their hands
Too bad the colour did not come out
All at once we felt the cold blast of air bellowing out of the port side Tcell and it was on us.  The wind went from 5 knots to 75 knots.  Just like that.  There are no more pictures.  We were sort of busy.

For two and a half hours we wrestled with the boat, winds gyrating through the entire compass at speeds alternating from 5 to 75 knots and waves at 2 metres plus coming from every direction.  It was unpleasant.

The storm materialized in all its malevolence in under a minute and  then, after 150 minutes of total physical attack on our boat it just disappeared in the same minute. 

We were satisfied with our performance.  20,000 miles under the keel is decent experience and we were sailing one of the best boats ever built for the situation in which we found ourselves.  

We worked the solutions as they presented themselves, shut down the sources of risk as we found them and everything worked out. 

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