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Capsize on the Hudson River

Published on July 15th, 2011

Below are pictures from the evening race at the Manhattan Sailing Club on July 14, 2011. During the race, a brief but vicious thunderstorm came through New York Harbor, with winds of 45-50 knots and driving rain. One of the boats, a J/24 named Great Republic, capsized, almost righted itself, and then went over for good, sinking just northeast of Ellis Island.

There were no injuries. The skipper and crew were calm and professional, organizing themselves at the safest positions on the overturned boat. Help from the Manhattan Sailing Club support boats came quickly, and the crew was pulled out of the water. Other sailing boats from the race that were close by came to assist as well.

And then, of course, after the storm……..a beautiful rainbow. — Scot Surbeck

Comment from the Skipper of High Hopes who was competing in the race:

The squall came on very-fast. One minute we were racing upwind to the last windward mark, and the next minute the committee radioed the fleet to abandon the race and take all sails down. The horizon was dark at that point but the severe wind and rain hadn’t started yet.

We were a little slow about getting the sails down mainly because we were bummed about the bad luck of having the race canceled while we were leading, but we still had our headsail down in about two minutes after abandonment. At that point the wind had almost doubled (in 2 minutes) and the rain started to pelt us. We got our main down one minute after that but by then we were in a full white squall.

Water droplets were so thick in the air above the whitecaps that we could no longer see the Brooklyn shore downwind of us. Things were intense enough that even with no sails the boat was hard to handle. We had to move the crew weight aft in the boat so the engine would get traction in the white-caped waves and gusting wind. After the engine was making good contact with the water we could steer into the weather which was greatly needed to get the boat under control.

The boats with the biggest problems must have been later and slower than us taking down their sails
















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