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11.11.2011 Stanislav Tryzna: The Storm in Adriatic. How We Acted
Stanislav Tryzna: The Storm in Adriatic. How We Acted

 May 28, 2000. The yacht “Alciona” started in sailing race Rimini-Corfu-Rimini. This is the route along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The bend signal was on the cross-cut of the lines connected different landmarks on the shores of Albania and island Corfu. The distance was about 800 miles.

 

The skipper and owner of the yacht is famous Odessa yachtsman Mikhail Petukhov. I was his co-skipper. There was four of crew at all. I would like to tell about men which taught and are teaching me on to navigate. I will do that by small notes while telling about certain events and situations. For the moment I would say about Mikhail Petukhov. He is a bright example of real yachtsman who uses yacht for the purpose intended. He sails it. Moreover he sails often and far.

 

It Did Not Happen to Sleep Before Storm

 

Calm weather bothers crew most of all while racing. One should work with sails constantly. Especially regular settings up and taking down the spinnaker are exhausting. Quite so sleepless and windless night passed before bending the signal by the Corfu’s shore. Shortly before changing the course to come back to the finish, northwest picked up. That is why after crossing the bending line we went sharp close-hauled port tack and soon approached dark cliffs of Albanian shore. The wind became stronger and we took down genoa almost at once after tacking. After a minute of observation skipper commanded: “Set up storm jib!” I made it at first in my life. We took in second reef and made it badly because up to the end of the storm the mainsail was slack. It is difficult, sometimes dangerous to correct errors in gale. That is why I ask you insistently get ready to storms accurately beginning ashore.    

 

Oleg Rasokhin Left for Steering

 

Approximately half of light day passed. Foul weather turned into storm. Starboard tack led us to the Italian shore which was 40 miles away by Strait of Otranto. Skipper commanded us to sail through the storm on our own and went down into the cabin. Later I could smell Corvalol from there. Oleg Rasokhin sat by the helm. I sailed with him in 1995-97 on the yacht “Duke” and I remembered him as the most skilled helmsman in head-seas. Anton Svischev was seasick in the circuit. I remained in cockpit sitting with back to the starboard and covering myself with fisherman’s dry suit from the steep 4-5 meters waves with crests which pounced on the deck.   

 

In Storm Oleg Intentionally Limited Yacht’s Speed


The tactics of Oleg was following. He limited the speed of the yacht to reduce the force of the hits of the head sea. He tacked windward periodically until sales fluffed. The waves were steep and approximately each fifth of crests was collapsing. One moment Oleg over tacked the yacht and head sea stopped her. Next wave threw her to the different tack. Not touching the sails Oleg returned the yacht to the previous tack by gybing. I understood that Oleg is inadequate to the occasionand fear gripped me. There was nobody to change him at the helm except me, inexperienced and sleepless more than 24 hours. We had not to wait long the next stop by head sea. “Alciona” did not manage to return to the course when she was covered by the wave from the starboard. I was turned by my back to the wave. That is why I did not know how high it was and could not guess how long it will sink the yacht that was lying on the port side. I could just eye how the surface of the sea approached to the open hatch. But everything worked out. The yacht layed on its port side yet when the head of the captain emerged in the hatch. He said: “Oleg, pass the helm to Stas”.

 

I should say that it was sunny in this stormy weather. The atmospheric pressure was constant on the mark of 759 cm Hg.

 

One hour before sunset Petukhov looked out the cabin and said: “After sunset wind will turn sour or pick up”. Of course the latter came true. But at that moment I hoped for the first because I was scared very much!