Four days after we moved aboard I experienced my first storm. Of course, My Better Half was on a trip so I got to experience the fun all by myself.
I thought I was going to die and the boat was going to sink and the mast was going to fall down.
It wasn’t my finest hour.
I awoke to the loud and insistent rattle of our main sail roller furler being rocked by the wind. Of course, I didn’t know what it was at the time, there were many loud clangs and bashes and whistles from the boats surrounding us. I realized that we were rocking in our slip a lot more than usual and that the loud clangs corresponded to our rocking. I went on deck to see if I could figure out how to fix the problem (yeah right. I might as well have been good ol’ Sisyphus with his boulder based on what I could accomplish out there). The wind was howling, the rain was pelting my face. The roller furler was rocking in it’s cradle. The mast was creaking. The standing rigging was thrumming as the wind whistled through it. Below decks the whole cabin house was groaning as the mast flexed in the wind. Water was dripping through those thrice-damned port lights and hatches.
I decided that the mast was going to rip right off the house and tear a giant hole in my roof. Yes, the boat is steel but I wasn’t necessarily thinking about the structural integrity of metals at 2 am. I resigned myself to our 55′ mast spinning through the marina and taking out 3 or 4 other boats. I hoped we had enough insurance. I lay down in bed and waited for this to happen. The wind was fierce. I couldn’t sleep.
Three things then happened that made me laugh at myself:
1. I looked out the companionway hatch at the boats on the next dock down. While I was rocking with a good amount of movement it was nothing like those other boats (most of which are bigger than we are). The other boats were wildly moving side to side and up and down in the wind and the waves. I couldn’t imagine being on one then realized that all the other boats around were moving much, much more than I was. Ok, so I’m a little heavier and stable. Good.
2. I realized that my boat had just gone through a hurricane (Arthur, anyone?) and survived.
3. I checked the wind speeds on my phone (I didn’t know that we had built-in wind instruments yet) and saw that the winds were gusting up to 15 mph. I then felt like a pansy and had to laugh at myself.
I went back to bed.
The next day there were reports of what a terrible storm it was and how there was was damage. I didn’t feel quite so bad.