Whether it's 50-knot gusts or rolling ocean swell, rain coming in sideways or thunder booming in the distance, there's no question: sailing in storms in the true test of seamanship. Check out our gallery of incredible storm sailing on everything from massive ocean-going race boats to simple sailboards.
What we don't know: where this is or who's steering that boat. What we do know: those are stormy seas, and small sails. This is the time to batten down the hatches, reef the main, and get out the blade sails.
Close to the wind
Forget Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes charging through big seas off the British coast on Hugo Boss. Spare a thought for sailing photographer Mark Lloyd who was shooting from a helicopter. “It was right on the limits,” he says.
Emirates Team New Zealand pierces through the surf during the AUDI MedCup. We're going to guess the crew got wet.
Towering Tazzy waves
Dany Bruch at the Mission 2 of the Red Bull Storm Chase in Temma Harbour, Tasmania. It took a storm with force 10 winds to produce waves this size.
Dany Bruch, again, at the Red Bull Storm Chase at the Bluff in Cornwall, England. Wetsuit required – this was in February!
A Volvo Ocean Race boat isn't your average lake-side dinghy. Nearly every manoeuvre on the boat – tacking, jibing, or raising the sails – requires a rehearsed, choreographed effort from the crew. When the weather goes awry, the stakes get much higher.
Storms don't only happen on the sea. A racer in the Optimist class waits out some weather during a regatta in Trieste, Italy.
Foam and fun
Rough seas and whitewater during the America's Cup Final near Queensland.
Just a little bow spray
The bow of a race boat pierces through surf at the Portofino Rolex Trophy.
Starting from Malta and going around Sicily and its islands, the Rolex Middle Sea Race passes two active volcanos. The conditions at the time of the photo taken were extreme – blowing around 35 knots (65kph) with big seas.
Rain coming over the deck sideways during the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in Cascais, Portugal.
Soloing a storm
This is the only way to the train for the Vendée Globe – a solo-skippered regatta around the world, and one of the most difficult races in sailing.
French sailor François Gabart during a 24-hour, bad-weather training sail in Brittany. Good thing most storms don't last all day.
Who's the Boss? For skipper Alex Thomson, there's only one answer, Hugo Boss, an Open 60. The boat has an impressive history including a fourth place in the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe after losing its keel, first in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, second place in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet, and first place in the 2010 Transat Jacques Vabre. Looks just the job.
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