Night of December 9
Force 11 = storm
Force 12 = hurricane
On deck that night we come up to 30 plus knot winds ,we have 2 reefs and staysail. Within 20 minutes we have squalls coming through at well over 40. I tap On the nav station window and get Seamus up and we put in the 3rd reef. The wind dies down but comes back up again and this pattern continues throughout the night. When I take my turn at the helm it is only blowing 35 knots but minutes later it is 55. It is however relatively easy to control the boat. Still Seamus comes up and says we’re dropping the staysail and putting up the storm jib as the wind is expected to increase further
The boat is surprisingly well balanced with the storm jib up. The wind continued to blow in the 50s and on later watches tops 60 knots.
Came on deck to the storm still raging and 55 to 60 knots of wind. and waves are big maybe 6 metres high.The main is triple reefed and the storm jib is up.Vad is at the wheel and proceed to the stern for watch handover and I announce that Fred will take the wheel. I watch as the stern is picked up by a large wave with a breaking crest which is breaking in an arc towards the port side and it’s peak is well above the personnel at the port helm. I brace for the impact. The wave hits and rolls us and the stern is awash. Vad is washed out of the helm cage I am washed down the deck and get to my feet and take the wheel on the starboard side briefly while Vad recovers. The boat is still rounded up and Vad is unable to bear away. I get to the mainsheet and ease it out and Vad recovers the steering.We look across and both foreguys have broken. We spend the next half hour recovering and re rigging the foreguys. It’s like mother nature punched us in the side and rolled us over , a 35 ton boat being no match for the power of the sea. The wind stays 45 knots plus for first part of our watch then gradually drops and we hoist the staysail and drop the storm jib. By our evening watch we are back under a full rig trying to make way in light winds and a sloppy sea.