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at sea, the Fastnet storm came out of the south, veered to the southsouth-west, and ended up blowing out of the northwest. Winds of fifty to more than seventy knots rotated one hundred twenty degrees in twelve hours! Major disruption of the sea resulted. Not only were large waves stirred up by the high winds, they were approaching from several directions at once. The line of waves from the south had no time to dissipate before the southwest lines began, and they were still coming when the lines from the northwest were blown up. There was a high frequency of rogue waves. Add to that condition the funnel-like topography of the Irish Sea, and the way the ocean bottom shoals to one hundred feet or less as one moves south from Fastnet Rock, and one begins to understand just how perilous the situation was, especially for those boats that were still trying to beat into the wind and seas in order to round Fastnet Rock. As yacht racing chronicler Jack Knights wrote in Sports Il-

lustrated, “Yachtsmen began to relearn that in gusts of more than 60 knots craft under 40 feet cannot make progress against the wind. Those under 30 feet become fully occupied with the simple necessity of staying af loat.” Before the long night ended, fifteen sailors would be dead. The thirty- to forty-foot waves were closely spaced. Four hundred feet ~ measured from crest to crest ~ was the best estimate of Bruce Kendall, Kialoa’s sailing master. Kendall is a brawny, taciturn New Zealander who has been with Kilroy as skipper and watch captain for eleven years. In that time he has sailed 200,000 miles over the world’s oceans. Kendall is a complete sailor. He can build boats, sail them, race them, and keep all systems running. Kendall said that a typical South Seas storm might have larger waves, but they would be spaced normally at fifteen hundred feet, making them less steep. The seas of the Fastnet storm were very steep. Sailors call such seas “square,” perhaps

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