I was just thinking back to some of my experiences sailing around the world and thought I would share some of them here. Just a quick back ground on me…….most of these events happened while I was sailing around the world on my family’s 43′ Hans Christian “Delilah”. We took 6 years and visited 47 countries and sailed approximately 50,000 miles.
The first one I am going to share happened in 1985 off the coast of Columbia. We were heading from Venezuela to the San Blas Islands off of the coast of Panama. Things started out pretty good with a decent beam wind pushing us along our way. The wind started picking up as we went along to the point where we ended up with about 50 knots of wind in a broad reach. The seas picked up to about 18′ – 20′ rolling in from almost directly behind us.
It sounds pretty wild and crazy but it was totally under control and actually a little on the fun side. Compare to our other big storm this was a walk in the park. I don’t remember exactly what sail we had up but probably a reefed main and the staysail by the time it was really rolling. We were flying down the face of these waves with the wind behind us.
The stern would kick up and then we would take off down the face of the wave. We were hitting 9 knots, then up to 11 knots. Our top speed surfing these waves was 13.9 knots. That was the fastest we ever had ole’ “Delilah” going!
There is a lot more to this story though! We were traveling with a couple of other boats. One of them had a man over board drill during this storm and then later had a run in with a whale……