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• August, 2009
LETTERS below reading with a large hatch open over the saloon table when it started to rain a little. No problem, it had been raining off and on for two days, so I just closed the hatch and went back to reading. A short time later the boat really started to move around in her slip, and I could hear the Shade Tree awning banging and popping more than normal. So I went up to see what was happening. The wind was already starting to pick water up off the surface and blow it around. I could barely see across to the next dock south of us. It was about then that Chris, my wife, got back from town, and it looked as though she had swum back instead of taking the bus. Since she was already wet and I was quickly getting that way, we decided to get the shade down and secured on deck. I had the wind instruments on, and noted that the wind was blowing 42 knots while we were doing this. The wind began to gust even more strongly, so after checking our lines we, along with a few of the remaining cruisers on Dock 6, started checking the docklines and sun covers on other boats. We needed to secure a number of covers and remove some of the canvas that we could not secure. During this time, the rain was blowing horizontally and it was like being sprayed with water from a 2.5-inch fire hose. Many dock boxes had their lids blown off, and these were flying around along with plexiglass windshields and assorted detritus from the boats. Ray of Mazatlan Yachts was struck in the face by one of the dock box lids, and suffered a laceration across the bridge of the nose. We also noticed a very definite lull followed by a drastic wind shift — almost like what you would expect in a hurricane, only over a very short time span. By about 1 p.m., things calmed down and the rain slowed to a sprinkle. There were reports over the VHF from around the marina of wind speeds up to 70 knots, and two boats were reported to have blown off their cradles in the Singlar yard. We also noted that it looked as if a couple of boats in their slips had lost their headsails when they unfurled and flogged to death. There were reports from the condos around the marina of windows and doors being blown out, and exterior siding and roofing tiles being blown off. The marina and areas of the city were without power for a number of hours, and there were many trees uprooted and large signs blown down throughout Mazatlan. So while the experience was stimulating and the rain cooled things down nicely, I think that this rated a little higher than a “no big deal” on the Latitude Wind Scale. Maybe a "Damn" or softly spoken "Shit". Just a thought. Mike & Chris Brown Antipodes, Wauquiez Centurion 47 Marina Mazatlan Mike and Chris — Let us be the first to apologize for what surely must have seemed like a casual dismissing of the very strong weather you and others were hit with. But we're a little confused, because it almost seems as though we're referring to two different weather events. We say this because the official weather track doesn't show Tropical Depression I-E reaching Mazatlan until June 20th — or at least 12 hours after you report it hitting Marina Mazatlan. And the official weather report has it never exceeding 30 knots — a far cry from the much stronger stuff that you and others clearly experienced. Probably the most likely explanation is that the tracks and wind speeds provided by the weather service just aren't that accurate. For the record, Tropical Depression I-E was the latest-arriving tropical weather in the Eastern Pacific zone in recorded history, Yet before it even blew itself out two days later, it was
The August 2009 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.