By Ron Weiss
Twenty-eighteen marks the 80th Anniversary of the Storm Trysail Club. The founding of the club began during the 1936 Bermuda Race, when a group of sailors set off on the schooner Salee. The ’36 race was bad, one of the worst in the history of the event. Many boats withdrew, but others elected to challenge themselves and tough it out.
A crew celebrates a successful day at Block Island Race Week XXVII with a product of Barbados that was largely introduced to the U.S. by members of the Storm Trysail Club in the early 1950s. ©MountGayRum.com
During that horribly rough storm, one sailor on another boat was ejected from his windward bunk, smashed face-first into the leeward bunk, spat out his freshly dislodged teeth, got his foulies on, and at 4 am, took his trick at the helm. As the storm built in intensity, Salee’s mainsail blew out, and the crew was forced to set the storm trysail – a small, triangular and heavily constructed sail generally used in only the direst of conditions.Read more