Editorial July 2008 Issue

Trying to Reason With . . .

The article on hurricane gear starting on page 26 brought back memories of one of my most terrifying cruising experiences. In 1997, Super Typhoon Paka tore through the island of Guam while my wife and I were huddled on the cabin sole of our 32-foot ketch Tosca with our dog, Coco. Peak sustained speeds were later estimated at 100 miles per hour. Our boat was spider-webbed to trees, poles, and buried anchors along a shallow canal in Piti, a former Navy service area on the islandís east side. In a basin nearby, a couple dozen sailboats were closely arrayed on four-point hurricane moorings. About five of those boats also had crew on board. Winds hit 50 miles per hour in the early evening, and didnít drop below that again until the next morning. Hurricane-force winds lasted for more than six hours. At the peak of the storm, the air was dense with debris, a scouring mix of sand, gravel, and leaves. Corrugated tin roofs, lumber scraps, and coconuts added to the potentially lethal rain. Several times, the empty CT 40 ketch to port would slam to starboard, and its rigging would scrape ours with a groan. At some point, hot wax from our hurricane candle dripped on Cocoís nose. His howls added to the bedlam

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