I was on a Chance 32/28 during that 1985 race with 6 other crew – it was Lake Huron at her worst. We sailed past the USCG Bramble was trying to hold station and give some wind and wave cover to Maxitrol during the patient transfer. My thought at the time was that given the sea state and how the two boats were banging against one another they would never get that guy off the boat.
Just before sunset some of the crew became seasick and by the time it was dark there were only 2 of us running the boat. Five were down below unable to function. One guy is vomiting over the leeside and every time he came out he was soaked by water coming over the boat. Now we’re sailing off the lee shore of Manitoulin Island and no one capable of giving us a loran fix. We’re under storm jib and double reefed main and tacking through about 135 degrees. All night long the pattern was the same – drive up a steep wave, nearly stall, then surf down the backside and crash to a halt when we hit the trough.
By daybreak we’d had enough. During the night we only made about 15NM of forward progress with 90 NM to go. The sea and winds were down only slightly, but still on the nose and I was very concerned how two of us could go the distance. We sailed back to South Baymouth for shelter where we learned 2/3rds of the boats in our class had retired.