Last night was a first for me, sailing with a chute up AND doing it solo. During the SHTP seminars they talk about “night Squalls”, I have heard stories about them and now have one to share. Its was a dark and story night, well sort of. It was dark the moon is barely a sliver the few times I saw it. Winds were blowing 11-13, pretty nice way to start my first night spinnaker run. About 0100 the winds were picking up, now peaking at 15. Time for the chicken chute. Hmm, its dark and kinda windy, lets wait 15 minutes, it might get better. No, it gets worse. 16-17, the 18-20, the boat is screaming downwind, huge bow waves, full of bioluminsce, white wake astern. Too late for the chicken chute, better just hang on and hope. Holding a solid 20, boat speed 8.5-9.5 solid, autopilot doing a fantastic job. Boat charging down the waves pushing upper 9 now, winds over 20, how long is this going to last? The wind peaks at just or 22, boat speed still upper 8s to high 9s. Then 10.0 flashes on the speedo for a fleeting half second. We still keep going and going, I am hoping it will stop soon. Finally wind starts dropping, 18, 16 the settles in at 15. I looked at the clock, 30 minutes! That was too much adrenalin for me, definitely an E Ticket ride on Seazed Asset.
Vance Seazed Asset