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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sailing in a Furious Rain Storm!


“What are you doing going out in this? I’m freezing!” A man cried out to me from a racing sailboat passing by. I didn't realize sailing in rain and bad weather was part of the sport! I just smiled and waved back. I wanted to say how warm I was with three jackets on, two hats and a scarf and gloves. But I didn’t. Still the rain was coming down in buckets and the wind was out with a vengeance. The boat was heeled over a great deal as the boat sped on through the pelting rain. The racers huge genoa sail was up in this gusting wind and I could hardly believe it. Talk about pushing it to the limit! I could just imagine that big mast of theirs breaking under the enormous strain of the wind.

I could hardly see with all the rain and cold wind in my face. The hatches were all firmly closed and Buttercup (my cute golden Labrador) was snuggled up all warm on the v-birth. I thought about that: "all nice and warm in the midst of the storm. Wow, must be nice!", I thought. I'm not sure If I was jealous or just happy for her as I was still enjoying the fight against the storm. As for me, I instead decided to finally brave the elements head on and go out to the bow and take the sail down. Climbing up out of the protection of the cockpit and onto the cabin top, the full fury now hit me. Rain was everywhere, and the wind gusting so hard you could hear it go by. Every second counted. If I didn't get it done and out of there soon I would be completely drenched. So quickly I put up the smaller jib and could feel the lessening of pressure on the boat almost immediately.

In a while I came to the breakwater. There I suddenly noticed the stream that flowed from the land was aggressively flowing in the face of the waves - those coming in from the sea. It was actually causing a cross sea as the apposing waves hit each other. I thought nothing of it as I headed out until it dawned on me that the current from the river was coming in VERY strong and was about to push me onto the rocks. If I didn't do something smart immediately, I would only have a few more minutes before the unevitable! With all my effort I headed the boat directly against the flow and on a close reach I was able to gain ground against the deluge of water, leaves and branches. I'm so glad I knew little tricks of using the wind to my advantage. If I hadn't had the experience, it would have been lights out for my boat!

Finally getting out to sea, I found the wind had decreased a notch and had to go back out to the bow and put up the bigger genoa sail. 'Not again!' I thought. But the wind was playing with me, for after having just got the sail up and then the wind started increasing once more! Looking over the starboard side of the boat, I could see the northern mountains with dark storm clouds and mist hovering there. I realized then how the low of the storm was now in the east as the counter clockwise winds were now gusting from the north. I have to say that sailing into its teeth with the rain coming down again was very exciting! But soon I couldn’t even face the cold wind any more. I hid from it behind the cabin hatches and from behind a waterproof blanket. My gloves were now soaking with wetness and two of the three jackets I had on were soggy. So I changed out of these, put on new gloves and then poured some hot water from the thermos into a packet of hot chocolate that was now in my cup. Man alive, I felt better after drinking that! The warm clothes and gloves helped me come back to life too.

About a mile and half from shore, I tacked back and forth and eventually made it to the northern entrance of Marina Del Rey. As I came back in the harbor from out at sea, the storm was beginning to break up and the setting sun was even starting to show through the clouds. The sight was surreal and breathtaking! I took some pictures of it as fast as I could so that the drizzling rain (that still was coming down) would not ruin my camera phone. Soon the sunset was gone it was dark. Looking at the stern of the boat and the navigation lights were not on. I quickly checked below and of all things I noticed my battery had a bad connection. I looked over the port side and then noticed a big party boat coming my way! Wow, what timing. I began to lose my nerve a little but then took a big breath and got out my emergency lantern. Lighting it with a match, it then came on with a warm glow. I was then able to fiddle with the battery connectors and get the lights working again. Now they could see me and I was able to make it out of the way of the boat! Shortly afterwards my boat slid back into my slip on a fast beam reach. I was happy to get the sails down and go in the cabin and get warm again. Buttercup was happy to see me too!

My new Mast!

My new Mast!
Because the mast is now 29 feet, I found a Catalina 27 sail that fits it real well. CLICK on PIC to go to page all about different masts on the boat!.

Sailed to Catalina

Sailed to Catalina
A view of Cat Harbor looking out at the Pacific. CLICK ON PIC TO GO TO ALBIE'S PIRATE PAGE!

After Sailing - bonfire on the beach!

After Sailing - bonfire on the beach!
Wow! It was so hot! You could cook your hotdog two feet away from the fire!
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Welcome to Sailing with Albie!

I made this blog because I wanted to share my adventures at sea with all of you! Some of you may be wishing they had their own boat or just want to 'get away' even if just at home on the web. So each week I decided to write down my feelings while out at sea and share them with you. If you enjoy them, please feel free to come back here weekly and see what's new. Also please share the blog with your friends and with those who you know like sailing!



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Albie

prepaydlegalast@yahoo.com

http://sailingwithalbie.blogspot.com/