Advise for dealing with unexpected high wind

Last weekend I was sailing down wind in 8-10 knots heading home due to ominous clouds the I was hit by a sudden, unexpected increase in wind speed (see below for wind speed at a nearby weather buoy). The boat reacted as if it was kit by a rocket, first flying, and then went into what appeared to me to be a head over tail spin, hit the water and immediately almost came upright, did a pirouette. A couple of minutes later it did another half hearted pirate and finally the mast sank to the shallow bottom. The boat "sailed" to the shore (rip rap and a pier) where some kind souls used used boat hooks to try to keep the foils off the rocks. After about 20 minutes of swimming they also sailing they came and gave me a ride.

So my question is, What is the best tactic to survive such a situation?  View attachment wind 16 Oct.pdf

 

TeamFugu

Super Anarchist
5,049
33
SLC, UT
I've been hit by gusts over 60 knots in my Swift and a 505. I was lucky enough to be in very deep water so I just sat on the windward side of the upturned hull.  Otherwise the wind would get under the deck and send the boat into cartwheels down the lake. It was far too windy to even think of bringing the boat up and make an attempt to lower the sails. The best is to hang on, keep the boat upside down and ride it out. Inland, winds like these are short lived and it is far easier for someone to find your boat than you. I had one time, I watched a catamaran do cartwheels down the lake then a few minutes later, I saw the crew swimming in dry suits just as a "rescue" boat was about to T-bone me while coming to my aid. I waved them off and pointed to the crew in the water. It was so hard to see their tiny heads with all of the spray from the wind and waves.

It sounded like you did about all you could do.

 

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,177
1,052
Miami
Last weekend I was sailing down wind in 8-10 knots heading home due to ominous clouds the I was hit by a sudden, unexpected increase in wind speed (see below for wind speed at a nearby weather buoy). The boat reacted as if it was kit by a rocket, first flying, and then went into what appeared to me to be a head over tail spin, hit the water and immediately almost came upright, did a pirouette. A couple of minutes later it did another half hearted pirate and finally the mast sank to the shallow bottom. The boat "sailed" to the shore (rip rap and a pier) where some kind souls used used boat hooks to try to keep the foils off the rocks. After about 20 minutes of swimming they also sailing they came and gave me a ride.

So my question is, What is the best tactic to survive such a situation?  View attachment 468356
Depends on the boat really. When it gets too wild, we all do not-very distinguished things to stay in one piece.

 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,269
9,611
Eastern NC
Last weekend I was sailing down wind in 8-10 knots heading home due to ominous clouds the I was hit by a sudden, unexpected increase in wind speed (see below for wind speed at a nearby weather buoy). The boat reacted as if it was kit by a rocket, first flying, and then went into what appeared to me to be a head over tail spin, hit the water and immediately almost came upright, did a pirouette. A couple of minutes later it did another half hearted pirate and finally the mast sank to the shallow bottom. The boat "sailed" to the shore (rip rap and a pier) where some kind souls used used boat hooks to try to keep the foils off the rocks. After about 20 minutes of swimming they also sailing they came and gave me a ride.

So my question is, What is the best tactic to survive such a situation?  View attachment 468356
Depends on the boat really. When it gets too wild, we all do not-very distinguished things to stay in one piece.
Yep, a survival-mode event.

I'd suggest riding it out with the boat laying on it's side, hanging on to or sitting on the centerboard. Hold the board up close to the hull so as not to pull the boat upright when you don't want to!

Making sure of not getting seperated from the boat is a primary task. As noted above, it's very easy to miss lone little heads bobbing in the water.

FB- Doug

 

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