Editorial October 2008 Issue

Farewell to Skip Allan’s S/V Wildflower

Anyone who has ever run before a gale knows how exhilarating it can be. On the right boat, in the right conditions, the adrenaline rush is as intense as any we’ll feel in this world. Bull riders, surfers, and skydivers get a few seconds of excitement. An ocean gale can last for days ... and that’s where the problem lies. With your senses completely in tune with the boat, wind, and sea, the experience of hurtling down an ocean wave stirs the soul. But as the hours pass and day turns to night, the thrill gives way to exhaustion. Mostly, you’re too busy to be afraid, but each mountain of green water that fills the cockpit brings doubt. How high will these waves get? How long can I last? Even with a drogue streaming off the stern to slow down the boat, running before storm-driven waves entails a great deal of risk. There’s danger enough aboard a fully crewed boat, as the rig, sails, and steering gear get pushed to the brink.

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