After the Gale

After our three day bout in the gale, I was able to go outside and see what had actually happened. The boarding waves with all their power had broken our Monitor Windvane, and had sent the 65 pound Mantus anchor flying around. The anchor broke the bow roller and then cam to rest on the deadeye for the headstay. As you know, Dyneema is very strong but its weakness is chafe. Having an anchor rub on it relentlessly for three days is the worst thing you can do for a synthetic headstay.

The anchor sawed through almost all of the strands of the deadeye, and crippled the thimble at the bottom. Now the deadeye is chafed and the dyneema makes a tight radius bend as it goes through the toggle.

At this point, we have no ability to safely load the headstay, as this might cause the deadeye to completely separate and give way. We were forced to limp our way to shore to get somewhere safe. The problem is getting somewhere safe when 50 miles offshore next to the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" as this area is so affectionately dubbed.

We limped our way around Cape Hatteras and tried to make our way towards an inlet to seek the safety of the ICW while we carried out repairs. As we were approaching shore, the winds picked up from 30 knots to 45 knots. This made the seas build even higher and also made it impossible to continue to windward. We were flying the staysail and a double reefed mainsail, but were forced to switch to only the trysail and heave to.

We were 16 miles from the coast, and now being blown away as we hove to once more. In desperation, we contacted the Coast Guard over VHF radio and setup a tow to bring us in to safety.

Our rigging was crippled and our electric motor incapable of powering into the weather for that distance, we were stuck.

The tow boat was able to reach us in a few hours and pulled us into a very protected area of Hatteras, where we are berthed in a marina surrounded by tall buildings and a breakwater.

In this calm slip, we will be able to carry out the needed repairs so that we can once again, continue our cruise to the Bahamas.

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