18 August 2018

Bora #2

The Bora approaching on a cool wind, fast and furious.
The Bora, rooted in the Greek mythological figure, Boreas, the north wind, is the "most feared" wind by sailors on the Adriatic coast, particularly in Dalmatia.  It is a katabatic wind that comes from the northeast, funnelling through the valleys and down the steep mountain slopes of the coast.

We were motor-sailing, as we most commonly do in the Med to Komiza, Otok Vis.  I was keeping a slightly nervous eye on a band of grey cloud in the distance with occasional comments to Peter who quietly received the info but, I thought, discounted it as my bora trepidation.
We had left this anchorage only a few miles away in the brilliant sunshine.  Within two hours, all was grey - sky and water.

The grey band became a larger hunk with a defined leading edge just as we were going through a narrow and relatively shallow cut between two rocky headlands.  I insisted on speeding up to at least get through the cut before we were hit.  We did.  The wind mounted, the blue seas became dark grey as the cloud came barreling along.  Boats that had been anchored in lovely secluded cliff-surrounded bays, had quickly weighed anchor.  We rounded the large headland where the mooring field we were headed towards was, all racing to get the balls in the most protected part of the field, Peter at the helm while I cleared our decks and secured lines.

The wind was quieter behind the headland.  We entertained a watching boat of German cruisers while very adeptly - I must say, because mooring is not my favourite thing - mooring Milly, adjusting the lines.  We were then free to watch while crews prepared, checked mooring lines etc.

We were behind a very high and steep mountain and could not see the approaching cloud base.  Suddenly, a great grey monster arrived as did the roaring wind, rain, lightning and thunder.  We were fine on our ball although doing 360's not always in sync with the neighbouring boats as the wind swirled in eddies around the base of the cliff.  Peter remained at the helm ready to turn on a motor if needed.  Otherwise, we could watch as boats arrived through the curtain of rain and spindrift from the short waves to tie up, the hired port authority guys zipping around in their RIBs trying to help where they could until the lightning and thunder struck simultaneously.  Even the port authority opted for safety.  The mooring field completely filled, boats were now attempting to anchor - on a grassy bottom - and sliding repeatedly.  While spinning safely on our ball, it was all quite exciting although we felt for those who were struggling! The mainsail of one boat was flogging viciously, the crew unable to furl it into the mast - another point against in-mast furling!
The mainsail still flogging in the wind between storm cells.

Second front on it's way.  This one was short and relatively minor.  Ho hum!
The post bora fallout was quite something.  Several dinghies tied off the sterns of their mother ships had capsized.  One was a hard shell with motor, the prop standing proudly out of the sea.  A boat limped into harbour with a shredded headsail, the remains blowing like banners in the wind.  Finally, another boat was towed in by the coastguard both sails completely shredded.  We had had the protection of the harbour and a good mooring ball.  These poor boats and their crews had been out in the furor and had felt the full wrath of Boreas, the north wind god!

No comments:

Post a Comment