All of California is being hit by a bad storm this week. With Molly out of town, the cat and I are here to brave it on the boat. The storm is supposed to go through Thursday, so at a calm moment this afternoon, I decided to run to the market for a week supply of food and wine, I covered the seat cushions, winches and teak, draped tarps over the deck and windows and even managed to shoot some video footage. Besides the few calm moments we’ve spent the majority of the last 24 hours under the covers trying to escape the sounds of pounding rain and gale force winds. When not under the covers, I mostly stare at the wind vane looking at 15, 20, 30 and 40 knot gusts of wind.
Nothing can quite prepare you for how drastically strong winds and rain can change your life on a boat. There is, of course, the classic banging and clinging of halyards against masts. This is the first sign of winds picking up past 15 knots. Then, as winds approach twenty knots, you begin notice that your own shrouds and mast are howling at you, reverberating across the deck and into the cabin. As the winds hit twenty five knots, the dock lines begin to rattle against the deck. When this wakes you up at 4 am, you are absolutely sure your boat is in fact stuck between two ice floes and slowly being squeeze into oblivion. After you crawl out of the cabin and into the pouring rain to loosen the dock lines a bit, you step back into the cabin to notice the boat is actually healing (tipping) over. This is 40 knots, enough wind to grab the mast and pull the boat 10 degrees to its side. As I lie here in bed, stretching width-wise across the boat, my feet are about a foot below my head and yet, here we are, still tied up to the dock.
I’m still waiting to see what 50 knots has in store.
Below is the video of a calm moment in the day. You’ll see: (1) the boats around us, with a flag that has been shredded by the wind (2) the wind vane approaching 30 knots (3) The cat trying to stay warm in front of a space heater.
Make sure to turn up the volume. Enjoy!