Storm tactics

Mike Ondra
 

During our recent passage from Boston to the Chesapeake Bay we experienced two severe thunderstorms. In one winds reached 40 kn sustained with gusts to 55 kn for about 10 minutes at the severest. Fortunately the storms were relatively short duration and the seas were confused not having had a chance to organize and build significantly. Our tactic was to motor into the wind with bare poles. At 40+ knots even at full throttle we could barely maintain rudder control as we made way at around 2+/- knots: The wind would push the bow 20 to 30° off course before recovery under autopilot. We did not try hand steering as the auto pilot was doing an OK job in general. It’s seems that in any greater amount of wind or with a more significantly organized sea this tactic would have put us broadside to the wind and waves and then who knows what?
Drouges and see anchors make a lot of sense for longer duration storms. Thoughts on storm tactics for short duration events such as this?
Mike Ondra
Aletes SM 240
Rock Hall, MD

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