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Simple Lesson to Avoid a Storm:
This is a little story of the importance of your VHF and how we could have avoided a big gale:
One weekend my good friend and I checked the regular TV forecast and it said there would be a little rain. So we thought “well, that’s not all that bad.”
So we didn’t put off our sailing trip to Catalina. We sailed over on that Friday night. In the morning we saw a hundred dolphin. The sun was shining an all was at peace.
We arrived at Two Harbors on Catalina later that morning and got ourselves all situated there. Later we took a stroll and stopped by the Harbor Master to see what the weather was going to be like the following day. We were shocked to see that a gale was on its way with 40 knots of wind!
The following day was sunny and bright and nothing seemed amiss. The wind was blowing the tops of the palm trees but that was the extent of any weather. We both decided to go back home. I thought that maybe we would experience 5 foot waves at the most.
Well, we experienced 5 foot waves just leaving the harbor. Then the seas rose to ten feet. After we had crossed out of the shadow of the island, the wind really kicked into gear and the waves got to twenty feet high and stayed this way for the remaining 9 hours home.
It was extremely dangerous and we thought the sails would tear or that the rudder would break.
Often the wind exceeded 40 mph and we went back to get a report the following day and there were reports of gusts up to 70 mph.
All this to tell you to listen to the NOAA weather report before you go sailing. This would have told us about the gale coming and we would have saved ourselves a ton of trouble!
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