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Found this on another forum and thought it might be worthwhile to those dreaming of running to the canyons in small boats. The boat in this case was a 31' Cape Horn CC. Winds at the oil rig they were hiding behid peaked at 72 mph!

"Really dont want to type this, b/c frankly, I'd rather not think about it, but my experience and recommendations may save one of your lives someday. So here goes.
Artie(Rudeattitude) and I left Grand Isle,LA Friday morning for an easy day trolling for wahoo approx 50 miles offshore. Forecasts were reasonably good-10 knt winds with 50% chance of light rain, then a cold front moving through Friday night--not to worry though, we'd be back 6-8 hours before the front was forecast to come through.
The day was uneventful with just a few Amberjack to show for our efforts we turned north about 2:30 to run home. It was raining lightly, and had been for a few hours. Seas were light (1-3). Roughly 1/2 way home the rain got heavier and heavier, but oddly enough the winds were getting calmer and the seas were slick. As the rain continued to get heavier, with visibility down to less than 1/4 mile, and the radar totally whited out with rain we came across an oil rig to take cover behind and ride out the rain.
As we're idling on the lee side of the rig the winds suddenly increase to 15, then 25, the 35, and within 3 or 4 minutes we're being hammered by winds in excess of 60mph steady, with gusts that were deafening. I'm doing my best to keep the boat behind the rig, as it knocks the wave height almost in half. No more than 5 minutes later, the seas have built to an extremely angry 6-8' BEHIND the rig and I'm really struggling to keep the C Monster tucked in.
In literally the blink of an eye, a huge gust(maybe 70+) picks up the bow of the boat and throws me from behind the rig out into open water----broadside! Before I can move we are crushed with a 10' wall of breaking water on the starboard side rolling the boat virtually 90 degrees. I can see nothing...
At this point, I'm commited to the fact that the boat is rolling over and my only thought are to grab the ditch bag and decide which side of the boat I heading out of. Miraculously, the boat rights itself, and I pull myself and Artie off the floor in time for the next wave---again right over the starboard side. This one didn't roll us, but broke into the boat, which is now calf deep in water, broadside to yet another 10' beaking wave.
I gather my wits, give a huge WTF to Artie and hit the throttles. Somehow, both engines sprung to life and popped us on plan instantly, shedding the majority of the water. For this 30 seconds or so I'm running beam seas in 8-10s with the wind continuing to build, we're in full panick mode. There's another rig(a really big rig) 1/4 mile away in the direction we're turned, but I know I can't sustain 1/4 mile in that beam sea, so I point the bow into the wind and spear the very first wave---again we're calf deep in water. Throttle up and brace myself for the next one, they're coming every few seconds.
I'm yelling at Artie to call the CG with our position, and let them know we are in dire straights. 3, 4 , 5 calls go unanswered. Then we try a radio check---no answer. We fight 60mph winds head on, taking every third wave over the bow. the winds would blow us nearly vertical off the top of each wave, I just know the right wave and wind gust is coming and we're going over.
As a last resort, Artie digs out the hand held VHF in the ditchbag and hails the coast gaurd. After 4 or five tries I hear the best thing I think I've ever heard--CG New Orleans. We relay our position and the nature of our situation, let them know that we are currently making 10 mph, but didn't think we could sustain any increase in the conditions, which for the last 15 minutes have only gotten worse. At no point in this ordeal could I see more than 100' in front of me---total white out. CG says to maintain radio contact, which we were able to do for approx 2 min. then we lost them.
5-10 minutes later, we hear them hailing us on the handheld and again realy our position. They monitor us every 3-4 minutes for the next 1/2 hour---conditions still the same. An all out battle to keep the boat going into the waves, slamming down the backs of 12 footers only to have the next one break over the bow, bilge pumps working overtime. Every wave I'd throttle up and by some miracle the engines were there every time. After a while, with no improvement in our situation, the CG asks if they can realease us as safe, b/c there is a capsized vessel in our area with men in the water. I surely didn't feel safe, but I wasn't in the water and realized they needed the radio channel for the rescue operation. After over an hour, the rain stopped and the winds "died" to a mere 30-35knts and left us with a seemingly more managable 6-8' sea state. At this point we tuck tail, and beat our way back at 15-20 mph for the remaining 15 miles.
We hit the pass--call the CG as they instructed to let them know we made it in. My wife and kids were standing at the dock waiting on us, knowing we came through a terrible storm, but the don't know and will never know how close we were to not returning. We were inches from rolling the boat into 55 degree water and 50 degree air temps. I've never been so tired in my life.
I'm not telling this story for sympathy or being dramatic, but to tell you what we did right and what we did wrong...

Lesson 1. there's no way to prepare for the speed in which bad stuff happens. Despite the fact that the ditch bag and liferaft was on the leaning post, I could not have grabbed it when we rolling. There's no way.

Lesson 2. never go with out an epirb---I mailed mine out last week to get the battery replaced(it expires this month) and haven't received it back yet. I was dead without it. The only time I've left the dock without it in the last 8 years--think about that for a second!

Lesson 3. MUTIPLE VHFs!!

Lesson 4. Boats can't be too big

I'd like to say we should have called the CG earlier, but it literally went from dead calm to nearly upside down in 5 minutes or less.
I should've had my kill switch on--I never leave it off, but for whatever reason I didn't put it on this time.
respect the weather--this was the most innocent looking storm I've come across.
Know that you can't survive if you're in the water in the winter--plan accordingly.
Sorry it's so long, maybe Artie will add in his thoughts--he and I haven't talked about it yet.
And no----the boat is not for sale
"

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5. Never fish in front of a front.
Bingo....
I am glad they survived, what a crazy story. Should have never went with the forecast of a front later in the day... never mess with a front offshore..
 

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ditto on the front thing.

are you suggesting a 31 cape horn is a small boat?

i dont think its truly a distance thing. that story can happen just a easily 2 miles off as 100. prepare for what you can prepare for. thats it. dont care if youre in a 10' or a 60'. 1 mile or 100 miles.

chance of storms? i usually stay home.
 

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I am glad they made it out ok.

Water temp (50's water temp will kill ya, kind of a recurring theme)

Front - never a good idea. Ive done it, with stained pants the result. Not good to mess with

I think in the end, those 72 kt breezes came from somewhere and if you find yourself in winds of that strength, you may have missed the forecast. True I suppose, a big super T storm could produce 70 kt winds, indeed a freak storm a number of years ago in summer caught a lot of boats off guard... charter guys losing their rafts and smashed windows, etc...

I am glad he made it back home safely though.
 

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5. Never fish in front of a front.

Great story, glad it wasn't me and that he made it.
Yeah that should have been rule #1...not 5. I read the first paragraph where they said "Cold front to come through Friday night". Didn't need to read any farther. I already knew what was happening.

Everyone is tempted to fish in front a low/front because it's calm and the fish usually bite really well (pressure dropping). It's all nice and fun until that happens.
 

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I've kinda seen this happen a couple of times out there on a steel rig, but on a cc that takes the cake! I always thought them Cape Horns where bad ***! Happy they pulled threw, powerfull read!!! Good food for thought!
 

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I am no Monday morning quarterback.. To all my fellow small boaters, NEVER AHEAD OF A FRONT.. Not by hours, a full day is suggested maybe a half day with today's Sirius and such weather forecasting helpers..

Many of you know untillast year of my 20+ offshore fishin I never been to the canyon in anything bigger than 29'. I have had my tail tucked, twisted and thought for sure I wouldn't get home.. Each and everytime was due to a front. NEVER EVER!

When you hear the big players bailing them, sailing whenever.. It is not your time.. A main component to our game is the wait...
 

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The one thing I hate about my boat 1st thing I have to look at is weather 2nd thing is weather and 3rd and most important are there fish:D no its weather. That being said sooner or later s##t could happen.
 

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whenever i read these stories i try to pick out the mistakes as i read them.
yeah, i get it, crap happens really fast and i'm not jumping on anyone...did lots of stupid stuff. really happy to be here today!!! :nuts:

i think we could all learn from these stories, especially when the truth be told.

interesting to test yourself as you read to see how many red flags you could throw up.
 

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Read the thread on another site.... interesting...

The boat did not have sat weather or a epirb onboard either.

Sat weather in this case would have been huge in determining where the front was...
 

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hmm-the lesson I got from that is never give up-
No guts no glory-Fishing is a primal instinct
no different than "bangin on the bongos like a chimpanzee"
Ill see you guys out there-just as long as I see the capitol H's "from california to the gulf stream waters"
personally I have prepared myself for death at sea-some of us are going to go down-no doubt-no chance of dodging that bullet-:razz:

and after all were all going to die miserable deaths anyway-sounds a lot better than getting shot up with morphine in a climate controlled 10X12 jail cell- I think I'd rather take the blue pill-
 
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