Hurricane Irene was long gone and hitting New York, so my wife and I took the Cat out for a spin offshore at Ponce Inlet, FL. The short story is that as we were coming back in from a gorgeous day of sailing on 8 food swells and a steady westerly wind eliminating all chop, we found ourselves caught off guard by a fast moving supercell storm right in the middle of the inlet.
The winds shifted instantly and upped to about 30mph almost dumping us. ( I got lucky). This convinced me to beach the Cat in order to wait out the storm. No way I could sail in it as the winds were climbing.
Beached the cat and brought the sail down. I wanted to bring the mast down but my wife prevailed, wanting us to get away from the mast / lightning rod. We huddled under a portion of the sail as the winds continued to pick up and rain was pounding. 30 min in and the shivering finally convinced us to take refuge under the Cat.
About 5 minutes later, my poor Hobie wave lifted off into the wind, tipped on it's side, and started sliding down the beach. I caught up to it, re-pointed it into the wind, got it tipped back right side up, and moved it up to a wooded post to help keep it in place.
Finally, after about 50 min total, the rain / wind died down enough that we were able to asses damage.
NOTHING ! I LOVE THIS BOAT !.
Raised sail and made it back home. I did sustain a rope burn at some point in the madness but, I don't know when.
So.. lessons ? 1. get the mast down quick. 2. keep an eye on the wind so that you can adjust and prevent fly-away. 3. Watch the weather closely to prevent needing lessons 1 and 2.
Have a good one all !