The Long Watch

As water filled my boots, I sat wedged between the cockpit table and steering pedestal where somehow my safety tether had ensnarled the spoked wheel. I worked in the near-continuous strobe of massive purple-blue electrical burst to untangle my self. A rush of bitterly cold air shocked me out of step by methodical step assessment of taking in another reef vs. maintaining speed and considering the likelihood of facing a massive breaking wave over the stern. My ears crackled then popped with a radicle change in pressure, and those two events in quick succession gave me a reason to pause. I looked up from the winch I was cranking to see clear skies above and a stream of meteorites pouring into the top of a massive supercell storm violently rippling in shades of orange, blue and purple electric light. Beneath the spectacle, a series of waterspouts slow danced to a song that echoed in tones of thunder.

Know When to Stay

The air was electric, loud and filled with a deafening roar as a torrent of hail pummeled me. I shivered violently and my ears rang with a high pitch insect whine as the storm intensified. For a moment I thought it was going to be the end.

The Paradigm Shift

For days, we have watched a forecasted low-pressure system form off of the mid-Atlantic region between the successive high-pressure ridges. With the low-pressure system, we saw a prediction for 20 to 30 knots of wind driving out of the south and our opportunity to catapult from the Delaware Bay north to the Cape Cod region. Pushing our departure date back a day put our ability to be in position for the low-pressure system in jeopardy.

Channel Bells

The low-pressure system that we were trying to beat south continued to grow in strength and intensity. The system coded in deep oranges and reds by various weather models passed across the mid-Atlantic region bringing torrential rain, flooding, road closures, high winds, and power outages.

There is a Reason Why They Call it Beating to Windward

In Rockland before departure, we watched heavy fog hang across the harbor. Visibility was just under a mile with the occasional encroachment to a few hundred feet. We hauled in 160 feet of chain and our number 1 anchor, hoisted sail and cruised out of the harbor. The fog enveloped us, and we watched pensively as a large cursing catamaran a few boat lengths off of our bow then the land to starboard vanished.