trip logs

Fair weather and foul

I’ve always wondered what it was like to sail in a thunderstorm. Well, be careful what you wish for….

We began the day with a leisurely downside sail from Mylor to Turnaware Point where we anchored and were joined by Zephyr. The girls enjoyed a swim and we all enjoyed the sun and a pleasant lunch.


About mid-afternoon, the sky clouded up and we thought we had had the best of the day. Just as we lifted the anchor, the first spots of rain fell and Niki asked me, “Do you want your waterproof trousers?”. “It won’t come to much”, I replied. How wrong I was!


The rain got heavier and the wind was squally and then the heavens opened! We were beating and it grew harder to make progress to Falmouth as the wind dropped. However, it soon picked up and up and up. Alice was clearly nervous as we saw some flashes of lightning. The rain was still bucketing down and creating a soft mistiness to the wave crests. However, we had made the mistake of opening the Yankee carelessly and the furling line was jammed on the drum. We pressed on with reefed main, and both jibs, beginning to get over canvassed.

Things came to a head as there was a sudden gust and Aurora began to broach and I released the jibs as Niki tried to turn the boat into the wind. At that point the snap shackle opened on the Yankee and began to thrash. I used the sheet to lash the sail to the deck and meanwhile I could hear Niki struggling to wake up Mr Honda. He was still refusing to be roused by the tie I got into the cockpit, but we eventually got him started.

By this time the visibility was only a couple of hundred yards and we struggled to get the main down as we motored head to wind. It was at this moment that mr Honda chose to take industrial action. Every time we opened the throttle to get some way on, the engine would die. We went though this two or three times and I began to think whether a pan pan would be needed, but the sail was eventually furled and the engine coaxed into life.

We motored into Falmouth harbour with the rain still rattling down. However, by the time we were tucked into a snug berth in Port Pendennis Marina, the rain had stopped and the sun had even come out. At least we could dry some of the gear off! Needless to say, the snap shackle has been retired from the Yankee sheet….

We had a very pleasant evening with Russell and Niki at Zizzi’s with a terrific view of the marina and harbour. We certainly slept soundly that night.

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2 thoughts on “Fair weather and foul

  1. I am enjoying reading about your adventures.. Last season, when I needed a new head sail, I posed the question about going back to a hank on jib – my reasoning being that the more basic – the better in the long run.. but I was looked upon by friends as crazy.. of course, modern technology works great 99% of the time.. it just so happens that it typically fails at the worst possible time!

    Glad to hear that everyone weathered the storm ok – this just adds to your list of experiences! jt

    1. Some owners have hanked on staysail, but the foresail (Yankee or genoa) is furling on all CC19’s afaik. He foul up was my mistake, as, when I was opening the sail, I just pulled harder and harder when it wouldn’t come, realised the windward sheet was cleated and just let it go. It’s important to keep some tension on the furling line so that it winds onto the drum evenly.

      As you say, we got through the experience and learned from it. I’ve never sailed in weather like that on any sailing boat.

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