Entering the harbour when the waves are huge …. Sailing nightmares

Years ago i went sailing with my ex father in law who wanted to test his Moody 47 in heavier seas.

Moody 47 on a much nicer day 15knots peachy
Moody 47 on a much nicer day 15knots peachy

I had already been kitesurfing in the morning but my father in law was not a great sailor (the sort that tacked with a cruising chute up and wondered why it wrapped in the rigging). Although the wind was hitting 25knots the boat was of such a design as to be able to handle it …..

We went out and the waves had already got a lot bigger. We sailed with a reefed (furled main and a staysail for a few hours) Having gotten the boat well out the water beating upwind over a decent 20 foot set of waves. The problems came up when we headed back and I saw the entrance to the harbour had waves breaking before the entrance. This was a combination of bigger waves and a dropping tide.

I suggested we go up the coast to a larger commercial harbour which had better deepwater marina facilities but as he was going the next morning overseas to work for 4 weeks he was adamant he wanted it back in its own dock. He also wanted me to take it in … well it was directly downwind into the harbour mouth .

‘Do you have a drogue (sea anchor)’ i asked

‘What is that?’

my plan was to half deploy and motor in with it keeping us stern on in the breaking waves
my plan was to half deploy and motor in with it keeping us stern on in the breaking waves

Do you even have a steel bucket or any bucket? NADA

So that is how i came to be motoring in (with its great 75hp motor) into the harbour. I tried to time the run between sets but as we were screaming towards the harbour I heard the roar of a wave to see the white water at eye level just about to hit us from behind. I slipped into neutral then full into reverse ….  but as soon as the prop hit white water it just spun. The boat broached hard to Starboard (R) and when it came up I gunned the engine went hard to Port (L) and missed the sea wall by 20 foot. My testicles were so far up that i could have sworn my tonsils had regrown …..  Afterwards I remarked

‘bloody hell that was CLOSE’

My father in Law replied ‘It isn’t so nerve-wracking when you are not steering’

Well it was his £125k boat …. and it was insured.

So when i saw this video I though Woahh that was nearly me.

watch from 2:26


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