Land n Sand Jan / Feb 2014 - Page 8

Dudley Dix, BLACK CAT’s skipper, runs Dudley Dix Yacht Design with his wife in the USA. Adrian Pearson is the owner and lives in South Africa. Herewith a shortened version of BLACK CAT’s experience. The detailed text can be found at: http://dudleydix.blogspot.com/2014/01/our-cape-to-rio-race-wrap-up.html “bodies and objects were flying all over the cabin” At daybreak on Sunday, they reefed the mainsail when an over 40 knot squall hit them and the gusts shredded their new jib, leaving them with only their main. The navigator was on the foredeck changing their #1 jib to the #3 when he was washed aft, injuring himself. He had a chipped shin bone and a sprained ankle. They had no steering and dropped all sail. They sat out in worsening conditions, before setting up a jury rudder to take them back to Cape Town. As evening approached, another storm grew increasingly malevolent. In the early evening, they heard a massive bang. It sounded as though the boat was being ripped apart. Suddenly they were upside down, bodies and objects were flying all over the cabin. Dudley received minor cuts and a black eye. Alarmed, he thought the keel had come off, but suddenly she was upright again. The bolted day fridge had relocated itself. Three fire extinguishers fell out of their brackets and became lethal missiles. Next they discovered a hole in the plywood deck that went into the locker below. This allowed water to enter the locker. Crew member and surfer Sean felt as though he was caught inside the impact zone of a surf break. A large and hollow tubing wave broke over and enveloped BLACK CAT. She rotated while rising up the face of the wave, until she was hanging from the roof of the tube.