3 hour tour!!!
Well it had been a great Summer...the Summer of 1999.* There was a group of us that had just met and we had all managed to get our boats moored at one marina on one*dock in one general area.* I had also just met Doug and the Boomerang.* His boat was in the slip right next to mine.* This area of the dock had become so locally popular that people were stopping by on their weekend nights out "just to see what was going on" on "F" Dock.* There were many nights where we had gone down to the boat early in the evening only to realize that it was past midnight and we still hadn't made it down to our slip toward the end of the pier.* Well Dawn came after one such evening.
It was a beautiful August morning.* The "creatures" were barely stirring about but when one of the ladies busted out with some mimosas, the creatures stirred a bit more.* Morning ran into Early afternoon and most of us were wanting to go for a boat ride but most of us had later committments so we were hesitant to go out.* Well we all agreed and the consensus was to head out around 1ish and be back around 4ish.* All 11 of us were in agreement!!!* And we were to go only on one boat...the smallest one of the fleet....Boomerang!* Boomerang, before*the refit had a Perkins 4108 with more than 6000 hours on it and it didn't really look like the PO cared much for it but the little Perkins chugged on.* If you pushed it too hard, it would overheat a bit so you just didn't push it too hard.* The steering mechanism also had a little to be desired.* There was a huge dead* spot in it so steering Boomerang was more art than science.
So, we loaded up the 11*folks and beer and mimosa fixins and off we went.* It was a nice afternoon and you could see clouds on the NE horizon.* We weren't too worried.* Someone asked my opinion of the weather and, with my expertise(a sailor, surfer, professional pilot) I proclaimed us to be safe from such weather since everyone knows all weather around here moves from SW-NE.* Well, not today.* Someone said that the weather was getting closer.* Again, me being the self appointed weather expert I just said that it was growing up and out that just gave it the appearance that it was getting closer but still moving away.* Well when the sky turned a very odd colored greenish yellow we began to worry.* The wind was still calm but there was no way we could make it back to the dock.* We also feared being too close to land when it hit so we stayed put and battenend down the hatches right down to taking the canvas off of the bimini.* The wind was calm where we were but we were trying to figure out why it was "white" on the NE side of the bay and that strange white/yellowness was coming our way.
Well that Whiteness was the spray and spume from the gust front.* The first gust was at least 50mph with even higher gusts.* This chased everyone down below on the Boomerang...except Whip(who is a lving legend that a book could be written about) and myself.* We huddled up against the cabin top in the cockpit.* The wind*blew the top off*of a cooler and the wind blowing over the top of the opened cooler was sucking out ice and full beer cans!!!(can I get a Bernoulli here).* Whip looked over at me with this*devious smile and a sparkle in his eyes*and says, "This is f****n" cool!"!!!* I honestly didn't think so.* In my mind, I was already measuring the distance between us and the lee shore and wondering if I could make the swim if the need arose(I think I could have).* The wind was blowing probably in the 60-70mph range now with the biggest chop I had ever seen on Galveston bay.* I went below to check on my girlfriend and the others and everyone was fine except for being scared.* All hands had dawned life jackets which was smart but still added to the*seriousness of the crew.* The spooky thing was Jeff(the helmsman) was having a hard time keeping the boat bow into the weather due to the aforementioned steering problems.* So every once and awhile we found ourselves beam to the weather which was not very fun in this case.* The radio was buzzing with mayday calls from people who were in dire trouble to*those who just thought they were( a Scarab and their conversation with the CG was quite humorous,Etc.).
Well, we survived.* The storm had lasted about 20 minutes and vanished as quickly as it had come up.* We had done well and the Boomerang was no worse for the wear.* All around us were boats that could not claim the same....boats with broken masts and many with shredded sails.* The wind was officially clocked that day at 79mph!*
To this day, every time a storm kicks up Whip still looks to the bay with wonderment in his eyes.* He has even tried to get me to go out into the middle of an approaching cold front in the middle of the night......"....Come on, dude, it'll be cool!!!..."!* I passed.
In all seriousness, there was a trimarin that capsized and some of it's crew was lost.* To this day, this is the most severe storm I have ever seen on Galveston Bay.
-- Edited by Baker at 12:31, 2007-12-19