Witnesses have said that the Picton Castle was heaving through 70- to 80-knot winds with waves ranging up to seven metres, a common height for mid-ocean storm waves.I think this doubt is well taken. Too often whenever rogue waves are mentioned people tend to just willingly accept it as a fact. Calamai shows what a superb reporter should do: asking the right questions and present the fact that may rightfully challenge the overriding popular premise.
In those circumstances the significant wave height would likely have been a minimum of five metres, meaning that a true rogue wave would have had to have been at least 11 metres high.
That's enough to tower as much as five or six metres above the aft deck and to comfortably reach to the barque's higher quarterdeck level, location of the wheel and charthouse.
The two crew in those spots say they heard Laura Gainey's cry. Yet they did not report seeing any crashing wall of water, so news accounts of a "rogue" wave are probably exaggerated.
Nonetheless science is showing that the cruel sea is much crueller than even we imagined.
By the way, Calamai is the only one, among all the people who had interviewed me, who could explain to me offhand what a "significant wave height " is!