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Learn to SAIL BUZZARDS BAY then sail the world
Zeegat van Terschelling, Holland
By J. & R. Limantas

Several months ago, I found a book in the bookstore - Terschelling Sands by Frank Mulville. I read this book with great interest, because in the fall some years ago I had trouble near Terscelling.

……My friend and I, while sailing from Lithuania to England and then on to South America, decided to stop and rest in the harbor at Cuxshaven,Germany, because the North sea was stormy. The next day was a Friday and an old superstition prevented me from going to sea on Fridays. We could not leave Cukshaven on Saturday and Sunday as there was a strong gale blowing. The forecast for Monday was a strong breeze. The yacht club harbormaster told us on Monday, that we would not have a better window in the near future.

We left. By 6 pm, there was a fresh gale. We were sailing with a fully reefed main and a storm jib. The wind got stronger and waves got steeper, but we continued to sail toward Dover, England. At midnight, I hove-to under shortened sail, but after some time changed my mind, because we were in the middle of the busy shipping lanes. The wind reached strong gale force. I do not know what time it was, when I noticed that the wind speed transducer at the masthead had been blown off.

Accident Location
Accident Location
After a stormy night and day, the wind finally eased in the evening. The depression had passed, but my friend insisted that we sail to Borkum Island, Germany and stop for the night. This was strange, we were not on a pleasure cruise and had hundreds of ocean miles to sail, before we reached our goal of Cape Horn. Although my friend had ocean experience, after the first storm I could feel him slipping away into himself. We left Borkum early the next morning. The wind again got stronger and stronger, the yacht was running 8-9 knots. For safety reason, I reduced sails to only the storm jib, but we were still making around 5 knots.

Problems with my crew started again. I had a store of medication on board on case of emergencies during the trip. I realized that he was using these medicines. I was angry but I saw his eyes and understood that he was sick with fear and not in control of himself. I knew I would be unable to continue to the South Atlantic Ocean with him. He was not mentally prepared for this trip. I took the helm and changed course to Terschelling.

Wind and ebb current were against us. Tension increased as we neared the sand banks. It’s took six hours during the rain soaked stormy night to sail about ten miles to West Terschelling. The whole time I could not leave the tiller. I do not know how many years of my life were lost during that long night. I was lucky because two and half month ago my wife and I sailed around this islands with the former Dutch owner of our yacht, who knew these waters well. My memory was good enough to remember the locations of the lights in the channel and I could navigate without a chart. Before we even tied up to the pier, my friend jumped off the yacht and left not even taking any of his gear. What could I do? I worked to tie up the yacht. He returned after a half hour. There was no ferry service at night.

In the morning, a customs officers came for our paperwork. They looked at me strangely. When I went to take a shower, I understood why. My eyes were bloodshot from the tension of the long stormy days and nights. For two weeks I could not read or write. Good sea practice dictates that you should put out to deep water away from shore during stormy weather, but it was that or be on a yacht in stormy seas with a crewmate who was out of control.

(My crew member returned home from Netherlands. I sailed on alone to Dover, England where my friend, Linas Ivanauskas joined me for the rest of the trip.)

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