A-Log: A sickening thud
Aurora, USA 50095
Vineyard Race log
09/03/11, 0600 GMT
The floating debris in the Sound from Hurricane Irene was unbelievable – Trees, tires and telephone-pole-sized logs floating in wide patches. We had to steer clear of a large split tree with root system sticking up like an unkempt octopus reaching for us as we sailed by. Then the sun set and as we navigated the lumpy seas in the dark, trying to escape The Race before the tide turned foul, Rich du Moulin yelled “head up.” Gary quickly steered the bow toward the wind, missing a 10-foot log sweeping along the port side by three feet … disaster averted. We sent Ellen Quinn forward to the bow with flashlight to keep watch for the “growlers” that could punch a hole in us. We steered up and down to dodge a couple more. Then we felt the unpleasant thud of striking something hard, but not enough to stop us … it scraped along the hull/keel. We checked for water coming in but all safe and dry below. The branch or whatever did gouge a ding out of the bow at the waterline … Hazards at sea …
Another big hazard for mariners … The beacon at Buzzards Bay Tower, our turning point, was off. We could not make it out until we were 200 yards away. Expert navigation by Rando put us right on it to round safely in complete darkness except for the stars. Rich du Moulin, one of the winningest skippers in these waters on his boat Laura Ann, says that in 33 Vineyard races he has never seen Buzzards Bay Tower unlit … perhaps more hurricane fallout. Bit of a problem when we tacked to round it. A loose line got sucked into the primary winch when we were bringing the jib across, which prevented us from completing a clean maneuver until we could rig a new jib sheet to the other primary and take load off the tangled mess. Not a glorious moment but the crew work is usually flawless. Stuff happens in big boat racing.
Read more on the SYC’s race blog: http://vineyardrace.wordpress.com/
– Alden Bentley, Reuters