This picture was kindly supplied by Mike Cobbe - on the left in fetching grey and yellow. They were trying to secure the dinghy on the deck of the J-Class Velsheda on passage from Solent to Cherbourg.. Winds were 70 to 80 knots and visibilty was about 100 feet - in all directions including upwards! They were down to a storm trysail and storm staysail. At one stage, they gybed - with running backstays - which caused a little fun!
They did have harnesses and were attached but could well have gone over the side; note the lack of guardrails! This was the only picture taken because of all the water flying around, nobody had an underwater camera. This was in the mid 1970s before the age of digital cameras.
The forecast was for a gale but with a big boat and big experinced crew no problem was expected. In the event, conditions were worse than originally forecast due to a a secondary low. Hopefully with modern forecasting such extreme errors are now far less likely. However, they can never be totally excluded. The prudent skipper does not play fast and loose with the weather.
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