"Don't you think you should stow the yankee?" Linda asks.
"No, it will be okay. The seas aren't coming on board, and besides, I might get wet next time."
We tack to port to close with the weather shore, seeking the calming influence of land on sea. The wind continues to build. With it now blowing a steady 40-plus knots and gusting into the 50s, we understand from whence the steep seas have come. Intermezzo //blasts through the waves with little motion but much noise as the bigger waves try unsuccessfully to impede her progress.
Every now and then we pick up solid water. The waves, influenced by shore, head straight on our bow, and the tops of the bigger ones roll down the deck. Now I would like to stow the yankee in the forepeak, but working by myself up forward in these conditions would be very difficult. I decide to chance riding out the situation until we are closer to shore and in smoother water.
Twelve miles from the weather shore we run into an enormous fleet of fishing vessels out working the shallow banks. Linda counts 40 radar targets at one time. We will have to stand offshore, outside of them. We are stuck in the heavy seas.
Dawn arrives, and the wind seems to increase in the gusts, but as we close the shore, the seas are rapidly moderating. The fishing fleet is behind us, and land is just a few miles to windward. In another hour I go forward. The yankee partially trails over the side. Six hanks have been torn loose from the headstay, broken in half by the force of the sea. The sail is torn from leech to luff in two spots, and there are a half-dozen other rips. Two of our stout lifeline stanchions are bent at right angles from the sail and sea pressure. It is not a pretty sight.
I have no one to blame but myself. With just 5 minutes of preventive work on the bow when I first changed headsails all this would not have happened.
There is no place for complacency on a boat. The sea is unforgiving and must never be underestimated.
In leaving a sail lashed on deck with the possibility of weather making up, I have broken a fundamental tenet of seamanship. A good seaman always assumes the worst and prepares as if it is about to overtake him. The situation in which I fi nd myself should never have occurred. When I dropped the yankee, I should have removed it from the headstay and stowed it. I have been lulled into complacency by the seakeeping ability of our boat, and I have underrated the weather.
Thomas Perry on weather analysis and forecasting: "I do my own forecasting. I gather information from a few sources: SSB, fax, weather routers, Inmarsat, and most importantly voice broadcasts. Meteo France is very good. Also very helpful are the ham operators such as Herb Hilgenberg on Southbound II (I listen in but do not ask for advice). It's helpful to listen to what conditions others are experiencing in your area and outside. "Each situation is different mostly due to wind direction and the boat's heading, and where land is, especially when it starts to blow over 35-40 knots and building, with growing seas. The most important thing is anticipating the decisions you have to make before it has gotten to storm or gale conditions."
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.