All of those of us cruising who own sailboats treat the wind as both a treasured ally and the enemy. It is a wonderful source of free energy. It is also fickle and can tear at your boat like a great beast.
The trick is judging the wind. Which is based on a weather sense. Which is kind of like a black magic!
But, as sure as God made little green apples, he made the wind fickle!
While we were working on the bowsprit, we set the boat up for up to 50 mph or so of wind. This includes a set of boom tents we use which we have experience of in winds up to 40-45 mph without problems.
We had a forecast of rain (should have read squalls) with only 15-20 mph winds. When the little bruhahah arrived it was in the form of a south to south south westerly squall. No problem, our boom tent doubles as a rain cloak for the boat.
We don’t even usually have to close the upper hatches.
The first clue that they forecast may be questionable is when we hear wind in the rigging. Not the halyard banging, although the frequency of the banging will give you approximate wind speed. No this was that moaning howl. That does not happen under about 35 mph.
Not a problem!
Go to hatch, listen to other boats. Their masts are singing or moaning too. Not good!
What about gusts. Go look at the Airport just South of us by 12 miles. Weather Underground reads its automated instruments. Hmmm … 30 minutes ago a gust of 45 knots sustained. uh-oh!
45 knots x 30 minutes …. equals. Equals time to take in the boom tent. Scramble for the stairs. Open the dodger flaps … raining cats and dogs (not kittens and puppies). Release one side of the tent. Gust of wind tears tent from rear boom stiffeners. RIP! Then boom tent whips up out of my hands and tear shoots across the boat. Second circus tent underneath the boom tens has stiffeners too.
Sun bleaching has weakened the threads. As I watch, Circus tens rips away at the stiffener pole. Threads only, so no material is ruined.
Grab a blue plastic tarp and cover air-conditioner. Because it is now raining too hard and blowing too hard to try to move it back and close hatch to galley.
Cost of the inattention to the wind change (and a truly mediocre weather forecast) $200 in repairs to the three boom tents. Differed maintenance was also an issue. We had all the stitching in the Circus Tent restitched as part of the repairs. Now, it is back to snuff.
Inattention can be costly!