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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Catalina Gale Part VII: Reality of a Storm

Skipper Albie continues:

"It was at this time that Brad asked me if I would go into the cabin and get my wet things off and get some rest because he was going to need me in a couple of hours. I told him I would and was actually very happy to go in even though I really wanted to support him. At this time we had become aware of our own danger just being in the cockpit and we had buckled ourselves into the lifeline that Brad had so wisely set up before the trip.

Now I went below, thankful that Brad at least was buckled in. The first thing I noticed was that the table had fallen again and that everything had fallen all over the floor.
The cabin was such a disaster. I couldn't believe my eyes. And on top of that, Brad Jr had decided that the floor with all the mess was just the place for him to lie down (even though there was plenty of room in the v-birth for him and Max. This puzzled me greatly, but I was too sick to disagree and even too sick with so much up and down motion to do ANYTHING except lie down. I didn't even take any clothes off. I felt warm and that's all I cared about. I lied down in the V-birth and rested. I had no energy to do anything and just lied there listening to the sound of the boat rising up and down the waves and to that of my own thoughts and that of my stomach.

Sometimes I would even get sick just lieing there and throw up again. This time we would all pass and use the big gray bucket. It sounded like a throw up festival. First Brad Jr would throw up, then me then Max. Twice I even heard Braddock outside throwing up too. I never heard Louis though. He had some cloth over his face and I thought he was fast asleep, but I found out later he was really awake!

Now the sounds of the boat were extremely interesting. The wind was so powerful in the main sail that it made a whir or a purring sound not unlike that of an engine. I was amazed at the sheer intensity of the wind. I had never heard this much wind in my life. Then the lurching of the boat was quite amazing. This was so similar to that of a rollar coaster. Two weeks later when on Screamin' at California Adventure, I took the coaster in strides (hardly thinking it a big deal at all) having felt the very same motions for 10 hours on our trip. The boat would go up then down then lurch to this side then that. Then up steeply then down steeply with a thud. Sometimes it would come down with such a crash that I thought we had hit a rock! But no - we just carried on. As long as the 'purr' of the 'engine in the sails' carried on, we knew all was well. Then we hit down and crashed again. This time it smacked with a violent shudder from the bow to the stern. It felt like the boat had been completely out of the water - even with a thousand pounds of weight down in the keel. I almost didn't want to look in the cabin floor as I was almost positive I would see water seeping in through the floor boards as a leak seemed so likely. But again - no. We just carried on again. The 'engine' would purr again in the sails and I would try to sleep. Once in a while the purring would stop and the boat would seem to lie dead in the water. But not even giving a minute and the boat 'engine' would start right back up again and the wind in the sails would move the boat back on course.

By now my wet socks were making me cold, so I happily took them off and put my feet in my daughters pink but warm sleeping bag.
I fell asleep a little and wondered if an hour had passed or even two hours. It only felt like an hour, but things were so strange I can't remember. At any rate Brad had had enough and opened the hatch calling for me.
I quickly rushed to put on my socks and opened the hatch to go out on deck. Just taking the hatch cover off and suddenly I was hit with the loudest wailing noise I had ever heard. It sounded like a war was going on outside. I literally was terrified of going back outside. The wind was screeching, the waves and water were moving and pounding against the boat, the sails were vibrating and the whole boat was heeled over and I would have to climb sideways out the door just to get out there..."

PS: Thanks for your comments!

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