Category: Techniques & Tactics
Created: Thursday, 15 September 2011 02:51
Written by Charles Doane
Editor's note: Later this fall I'll be crewing on a boat in the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally, which departs from Hampton, Virginia, on November 7. The prospect has me recalling the last 1500 I sailed in, way back in 1998, when the rally fleet had a serious run-in with Hurricane Mitch. It was a very educational experience. I thought some of you, particularly those sailing south this fall, might find it interesting.
LATER--AFTER TWO BOATS HAD BEEN ABANDONED, after people had been hospitalized, after we finally (and gratefully) reached the safety of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands--Steve Black, who had organized the rally, held a "debriefing" session. This was attended by most of those who had tangled with the erratic, still destructive remnants of Hurricane Mitch. It was very heady stuff. A tent was erected on the marina lawn, and it quickly filled with sailors. Many had stories to tell. Stories of gale-force winds, broken gear, and enormous seas.
Just a few days earlier several of these same people had been neophytes with little or no offshore sailing experience. But now they were all, without doubt, bluewater veterans, and their pride in this--their sense of accomplishment--was very much a tangible thing.
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