A harrowing story from a good friend and competitor, Martin M. in Wisconsin. I met Martin & his son Ben at the US class events in Houston (2005?) and at two Oylmpic Class Regatta's in Miami. They would usually be quite few places ahead of me...but at our last OCR meet-up I think I had closed the gap and might have beat him at least once....

> Mike
> My boat will be down for a while if not longer. Here is a little
> story about Saturday July 30 2011. If you wanted to post it on Tcat go
> ahead. All though I might have read this and thought not me. It was me.
> Just for some context to the following story. I have a fair amount
>> of sailing experience mostly on a Tornado with my son Ben. He was
>> not with me this day. We have sailed in events like the OCR in
>> Miami several years although closer to the back of the pack then
>> the front. We loved to practise in 20+ knot winds 55 degree air
>> early spring ,late fall, Hey we live in Wisconsin. One day at thee
>> OCR we left shore at 10:00( race starts at 11:00, many miles to
>> the course; past Stiltsville)20 knots when we left,3 races about
>> one hour long each, 25 knts gusting to 30 knots for the last race.
>> I have sailing in some I have sailed and enjoy wind.(we sailed
>> and completeed every race at the OCR)

{I can vouch for this...that day at the Miami OCR half the 45 boat fleet went
home early due to the cold windchill temps and wicked gusting. I capsized twice
and we gave up into the 3rd race when both crew & I starting have difficulty
concentrating...a sure sign of hypothermia. 3 days later I came down with
serious pneumonia...was out of commission for nearly 3 months!...Mike}

> The lower Bay of Green Bay wi is warm and has several points that make
> you feel protected and relatively safe for a large body of water. You
> can sail behind the points or open water. It is great!! The following
> story taught me how one extreme event can make things look different.
>>> MIXED IT UP WITH A WATER SPOUT SATURDAY. Will have to see what
>>> insurance says, Marstrom carbon mast broke, tiller, sails
>>> shredded, rudders tweaked, hull beat from mast repeated beating,
>>> rigging twisted. I think I lost.!!!! Winds in the area clocked
>>> over 50 mph, with out the tornado,very sudden. In the water 1.5
>>> hr, crew was able to get to over turned boat. Blew hard for 45
>>> min. Tyler ( crew, 20 yr old) says to me as we sailed closer
>>> and closer to the wind, 20, 30+ in the survival mode,( Water
>>> near shore 1 - 2 miles ahead was foam in the air, looked like
>>> snow drifting) he say what's that. I say it's a tornado, unhook
>>> your trap. Here comes a tornado forming 1 mile directly in front
>>> of our path , you could see the form from water it was picking
>>> up. Every half revolution it seemed to double in size, 100ft
>>> across, 200, 400 ft . Bam the boat is gone , we are in the
>>> water, glad we un hooked traps; so we were hanging to trap
>>> handles off side of boat. The boat is 6 to 10 ft clear of water
>>> as it tips to the side, comes down mast first at a down wind
>>> angle, and as the mast hits bottom,in 18 ft of water snaps and
>>> ends up turttled. Crew was able to get to boat , old man did
>>> not. Thought I was a gone, really though I would not live,
>>> winded and not able to breath air only. Life jacket does not
>>> provide a lot of support in those conditions. Not easy to breath
>>> in that kind of slop, not like I thought at all. I know I wasn't
>>> complaining about the life jacket it could have been much
>>> bulkier. I would have been dead, no questions asked if I had not
>>> been wearing a life jacket, and almost was even with it. I
>>> remeber when people thought that a rule that you have to have one
>>> on to race was over reach, I think not. I thought if you keep
>>> your cool, I would just be bobing in the water till some one
>>> picked me up. NOT Even after I was able to regain a less than
>>> panting breath, (from trying to swim to the boat,I actually
>>> thought about tossing the life jacket so I could swim faster.
>>> Alful glad I didn't.) say 15 minutes, remember you don"t breath
>>> when you want, you breath when water is not falling over your
>>> head and even then alot af water in the air. I had to keep a
>>> light swim on my back to keep my head above water to breath clear
>>> air. Now I am not trying to scare people out of sailing,
>>> ussually there is a chase boat at events, and your not in the
>>> water long, but in this extreme case there were many boats that
>>> were in the area, and some that motored by Tyler, on the over
>>> turned hulls, even 30 ft boats that said thay were taking on
>>> water themselves and could not stop. later a guy in a 25 ft
>>> Chapparal talked to Tyler than found me. Was in the water for
>>> 1.25-1.5 hr I guess. Boat that picked me up had been a little
>>> north of Little Tail Point and had waited behind Little Tail
>>> till wind dropped because his boat was filling with water, he
>>> pointed to the wet floor half way to drivers console. Said he
>>> had his bilge pump on the whole time. We went back to Tyler and
>>> the Tornado, (BOAT that is), and he towed toward the club.
>>> Things were calming down now. The Laings, (rock solid club
>>> members) met us with the clubs boat and finished the tow. Tyler
>>> got to the boat and stayed there which is the correct thing to
>>> do even thow he was thinking of coming to help me. Hey Tyler
>>> ,asking you to go for a sail that day seamed like the right
>>> thing to do you know?! Glad your OK and I guess I have to say
>>> I'm glad it was you and not several others that had thing to
>>> that day, as the out come could well have been different. (Tyler
>>> is 6'1",20 yr old, very health 170 and can sheet a Tornado main
>>> like nothing, a Tornado main sheet has a substantial high load.
>>> If anything I'am saying ease the main some). I will let you know
>>> when the boat hits the water. A great thanks to all who helped,
>>> and wouldn't second quess any who felt they could not, in by far
>>> the worst conditions I have ever been on the water in. Long

A picture of Martin, Ben and their beloved Tornado in happier days (San Deigo US Nats 2006):

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Tornado; 08/03/11 02:35 AM.

Mike Dobbs
Tornado CAN 99 "Full Tilt"