Seaworthy Magazine: Thunderstorms - A Few Members' Accounts

Last year my wife Audrey and my daughter Jennifer traveled the Cholera Bank in search of dolphin and skipjacks. The ride out from City Island in the Bronx, NY was quite pleasant and we began trolling about 6:30 a.m. There were very few fish caught during the morning, but the turn of the tide in mid afternoon was productive and we noticed that a storm was beginning to brew towards the southwest. We ignored the signs for sometime simply because the fishing was picking up and besides we head northeast then north back to port. The weather reports indicated that the storm was heading southwest to west.

Be the time we realized the extent of the storm, it had turned north and was almost upon us. We immediately put on life jackets, closed all hatches, cut all the trolling lines off, dropped the antennas, and attempted a quick get away (not so). The Marine radio was still predicting southwest winds and here we are practically submerged and taking on water from the stern as the vessel slipped backwards into the oncoming surge. I asked my wife and daughter to go down below and place all loose items on the deck since that's were they were going to land anyway and the stay in contact with me at all times.

We decided to turn the vessel around and into the approaching storm and ride it out (just like in the movies). In doing so the vessel was pulled up into the crest of a wave and as it slid sideways down the crest of the wave water filled the cockpit from the port side and nearly put us under. My biggest concern was to make certain that I did not let my family down in a crisis even though I was pretty scared.

As the vessel came out of it, and again I shifted into the wind and blindly navigated towards the direction of the storm not knowing which direction we were headed. Waves were coming over the bow, which is unusual on this vessel even thought it's only a 23-foot Wellcraft and seaworthy.

Within a matter of ten minutes this storm was over, the skies were blue and the sea gradually became as calm again. No one would think all this could possibly happen in ten minutes. I wanted to continue fishing, but one look from my wife said lets go home… immediately or it's divorce court sweetie… guess who won???