Sailing In A Gale Aboard A Hans Christian 33
When we cast off aboard S/V Duchess the winds were blowing out the west at 22kts with gusts to 27kts; challenging but nothing a robustly built HC33 couldn’t handle. We headed north from Herring Bay towards the Bay Bridge and the winds continued to accelerate as we made great time under staysail and genoa alone. By the time we reached Thomas Point Light the winds were sustained in the high 20’s with gusts as high as 37 kts and the Coast Guard was issuing Gale Warnings for the Upper Chesapeake Bay. We furled the staysail and made the tack for the return to Herring Bay. About 3 miles short of our destination a large gust blew out the genoa. With sailcloth flapping all over the place, it took a concerted team effort to get the remnants furled. In the end, S/V Duchess proved completely up to the challenge taking on the storm and keeping her crew safe without even the hint of stress. It was a very exhilarating day on the water and a big thank you goes out to Captain Bruce for taking us on a wild ride aboard S/V Duchess!