Riding the Storm: Dealing with Squalls
The news recorded a typical day sailing that went tragically wrong. A long awaited a family outing on their boat on a perfect day of sailing: clear skies, calm water, went tragically wrong.
Squalls generally can be detected by an “anvil-shaped” cloud, but seeing that telltale sign often hidden by haze; but this was a “white squall”, a sudden and violent windstorm that often occurs without the usual characteristic black clouds of a conventional squall. The result was a capsized boat, people in the water and tragically, drowning’s.
That type of squall is fortunately rare, but even a conventional squall or any type of storm or disturbance while boating can be potentially dangerous; a skipper must consider a number of things when making the decision to ride out a storm or head for home. When in doubt, head for shore. Handling the boat in a gale takes some skill that many weekend boaters may not have.
If you choose to ride it out, know your boat rides most comfortably in storm conditions. If you’re too close to shore, point the bow into the weather a degree or two to port or starboard to lessen uncomfortable wave motion. If there is room downwind, you can run at a speed slow enough to ensure a comfortable ride, going faster that the motion of the sea around you can result in loss of control or broaching.
A well maintained boat is your lifeboat, and a boat that has been exposed to the elements, in any kind of weather needs maintenance and protection. CMC Canvas LLC provides protective canvas coverings and accessories preserve, protect and enhance any boat in any type of weather.