Well that was interesting. Its a good thing I stopped when I did, I received a report that it was blowing at hurricane strength south of me. I never thought I would have to deal with a old typhoon on this trip. To be honest I don’t really know much about typhoons. Do they have names like the hurricanes do? If so would it be an Asian name since they usually effect Asia? What do they get downgraded to, a tropical storm or something else?
I learned about old hurricanes the hard way. A storm as massive as a hurricane or typhoon can travel thousands and thousands of miles. I was sailing SW Ireland back in 2008. I came into the Kenmare river and found good protection in a place called Oyster bay near Sneem(I love Sneem!) It blew 45kts where I was (on anchor) and 60kts offshore. I thought it was just a regular storm until I was having a pint of Guinness at a pub in Sneem and a local told me “That was no storm my boy, that was an old hurricane”. Once in awhile a hurricane will miss the east coast of the states and travel all the way to the UK. So I guess once in awhile a typhoon will travel all the way to Alaska. Sounds crazy to me.
The good thing about riding a storm out on a sea anchor is if you do it right you’ll make it through the storm with no damage. The down side is, its incredibly uncomfortable. The motion is very different then when your sailing, its more sharp and violent. Strange enough its easier to cook a meal but harder to make water without flying all over the place. Flying all over the place sums it up nicely. Many times myself and my sleeping bag where launched across the cabin. When I deploy my parachute sea anchor I use 450 feet of 1/2 inch rode and 30 feet of 3/8ths chain on the side that connects to the boat. That alone is not enough. If you tried to deploy a para-anchor on a normal boat by attaching the rode to your cleat you would rip that cleat right out of your boat. Before I left I added a sampson post with the worlds largest backing plate which is firmly anchored threw the stem of my boat via a large turnbuckle. In other words, a wave would have to rip the entire front of my boat off before I would lose my para-anchor. The nice thing about the chain is it cant chafe through, but it can cut its way through your fiberglass. Every 6 hours I went up to the front of my boat and added or moved around my chafe gear. Twice the wind was so strong I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get up there. I’m not sure how hard it blew, I didn’t look because I didn’t want to know.
I’m back under way but not for long unfortunately. I normally would have waited another day to pull my para-anchor, but I have another gale coming Friday that will blow 40kts out of the south. Trying to retrieve my para-anchor in large breaking seas was a Herculean task. Anyway, I’m heading south to find a little shelter near the Bering Straits. This time the current will be going the same way as the wind so the waves should behave a little better, but I’ll also drift much further. I might be halfway back to Point Hope by the time this next gale is over. Poseidon must have a serous grudge against Alaska.
I told Simon Edwards about a problem I’m having with my last inverter and he sprang into full gear. Hes putting some kind of gift box together for me with a couple inverters and some treats and random gear. I guess hes going to mail it to Dutch Harbor and some fisherman will bring it to me. If anyone wants to help Simon you can contact him at email@example.com. You would need to act fast because he’s mailing it in a couple days. How nice, a new inverter will save the day and I could always use some cookies!
One more gale, three more days on a para-anchor, then hopefully I can get back on the road.