Catamaran sailing in gale- Video

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by yachtwork, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. yachtwork
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Vava 'u Tonga

    yachtwork Junior Member

    Here is a video of a Catana 582 sailing in gale conditions in the Southern ocean. It's interesting to see the sea conditions, the long breaking seas and the boat speed. Note around the 5 min mark the footage taken inside the main cabin and what the crew is going through.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnBve75x04o



    Scott
     
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  2. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    It seemed rather well within its limits.
     
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Um... those waves weren't really much in terms of danger/size. Those were long, slow rollers, not "breaking waves" like the narrator says. Long, slow rollers like these are easily handled by any cat.

    These are fairly benign conditions. I don't see where this is much of a test of the boat. When I did the same thing to test out my last cat (a small, 34' 10 meter cat), I went out in a gale and experience similar size, but far more steep and confused seas. It wasn't so pretty inside, or on deck because I was in rough conditions. It rained like crazy, waves from a previous wind direction mixed with new waves produced by the gale at an angle. I had to hang on tight. My wife was tossed around inside the deckhouse. This video was filmed in very benign conditions. Just look at the blue sky!
     
  4. pool
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: outbound

    pool Junior Member

    I agree, nice blow for a downwind ride, but surely no dangerous breaking waves.
    And Tahiti to Tonga is probably still a day's sail from the quoted Southern Ocean... ;-)

    Why would you go with a triple furled main, and not a jib only to pull you nicely downwind?
     
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  5. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    And I would agree on that. :D

    The main is a hassle to use in that case. No need to use it, unless there wasn't enough wind.
     
  6. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Aye Catbuilder, I agree, the conditions are fairly mild mannered there. A gale would blow those wave tops off (40kn), or is it just me ?

    I've been searching for a video of a cat like you say 10m and in seas like you mention. Totally different from this video.

    I also don't know if a lighter cat would accellerate down the waves any faster or more rapidly, accelleration is a function of gravity, although the waves may be relative longer down and up for a smaller boat.

    Could you perhaps elaborate on your experience ?
     
  7. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Here's a storm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcUFfNShH8w&feature=related
    Here you can see the water blowed by the wind.
    Ok it's worse weather but still... this is where you want to see how a cat would behave :D

    I haven't been in weather like that, but I may one day. I need to get my mindset right before I do and have an idea what to expect instead of the surprise element.
     
  8. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I was going to talk about the lighter cat not behaving as the narrator describes and back it up with physical reasons (inertia, form stability, etc..), but deleted that part of my post in case it sounded like a tirade. :D

    First, I do want to mention that I don't doubt he was in a gale. It's clearly windy. It's just not a bad sea state. It's a very organized set of rollers.

    Ok, I will elaborate on the 10M cat in Force 7 or so I was testing the boat in. Basically, we had a day's passage to make, between two capes, out of sight of land and as far a distance to the mainland as it was between the capes. In other words, once we set out in the gale, there was no turning back, really. We decided to do this one day passage in the gale to test out the boat's suitability for bad weather on ocean crossings. The gale was a following gale, just like in this video. There was one major difference, though:

    We had strong westerly winds prior to the southerly gale developing. So, that created normal waves, typical of the area coming at us from the port side, while we rode big rollers like those in the video coming at us from astern, created by the gale. When a roller and a normal wave constructively and destructively interfered, you got a big wall of water, or a big hole. I took water over the deck a few times. One or two of those big walls of water came right up into the cockpit and soaked everything. The rain was whipped pretty strongly at my back, so I had full rain gear (with hood) on. My wife was seated in the bridgedeck during most of this passage.

    On the positive side, the 10M cat handled the gale more comfortably than any monohull I've been on in similar conditions (although this was the 2nd worst I've been in). There was, of course, no rolling side to side down the waves if you weren't perfectly aligned with the rollers. That's the catamaran advantage. However, when the two sets of intersecting waves created havoc, the catamaran tended to jump from hull to hull and rock violently port to starboard, throwing you around a lot. If you own a catamaran, you know it can get uncomfortable taking seas on the beam. Well, if you have huge rollers behind you and seas coming at 90 degrees to the rollers, you have very little choice. You will take the standard seas on the beam to go downwind with the rollers and gale winds.

    I felt quite secure in the boat's ability to handle the situation, but the comfort was not as I would hope for an ocean crossing in these conditions. Sometimes, the bow dipped a little more than I was comfortable with. This boat had a full bridgedeck instead of a trampoline forward, so that was a concern for pitchpole. It never did touch the sea, but it came close enough to make me a little edgy about stuffing it. That was while I was going fast. I simply slowed the boat down (like they did in the video) to create a safer, more stable platform to handle the gale with. As I slowed the boat down to approximately 6-7 knots, the boat behaved more like a raft in a lot of ways, easing up and over the confused seas and having less violent motion.

    Still, the side to side jerking caused fatigue. My wife was thrown around several times inside the cabin going to get a drink of water or something. I was hanging on to the wheel outside with a lot of might (to hold myself up, not to steer - I had hydraulic steering). I was also having to lean into the various bumps and dips in order to keep my head kind of steady. This got tiring.

    I guess the main points are:

    The cat handled the sea state better than my old monos would have from a comfort perspective.
    The cat wasn't as comfortable as I would have hoped due to the confused seas.
    The cat was ruled out as an ocean crosser for us because it felt pretty small compared to those seas.
    The cat was also ruled out due to the solid bridgedeck which had a potential of catching water if conditions were right.

    Hopefully, that helps with your envisioning of a 10M cat in similar (but more confused) conditions. I was under reefed jib only. I took the main down as we prepared to head downwind.
     
  9. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Ok so one thing to keep in mind is if the wind direction change when there is a bit of swell you can expect confused seas.

    You said once we set out in the gale, there was no turning back, was this due to difficulty reaching or close reaching in those conditions ?
    Most of the sailing videos are taken mostly on a run where it seems less windy and more comfortable. It may however not always be the direction of choice, I may not want to go to Australia... :p
     
  10. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    On the other hand, you may wish to...
     
  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    What I meant by that was that the gale was at our stern on the course from Cape A to Cape B. We were on a run. To port, there was a very large bay of open water that was about a day's sail to land. The next land to starboard was England and Ireland - quite a distance as well. So, once we left, we were basically committed to sailing downwind to Cape B from Cape A. If we were to turn around, Cape A would have been directly upwind.

    I suppose we could have tried to tack our way up to Cape A, but it would have taken days and been incredibly uncomfortable.
     
  12. Fanie
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Yes, you never know... :D

    CatBuilder, besides the size of the boat and the solid bridgedeck, what would you have wanted different on that boat to cope better ?
     
  13. Dryfeet
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: San Juan Islands

    Dryfeet Junior Member

    BTW, don't go judging wind or weather by the color of the sky. Three of the worst storms I was ever in had perfectly sunny weather. One had 50' seas and another was passing through the eye and it's aftermath of a tropical storm/Cat 1 hurricane! Sunny!
     
  14. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: netherlands

    yipster designer

    around the 5 min mark at the bar you mean? isnt she making another longdrink?
     

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  15. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Yeah yeah... I know. :) It gets quite windy sometimes when the sky is blue. Wind has a lot to do with pressure gradients between high and low systems, so many times you're in the cloud free higher area and still getting the winds. I agree. Just sayin'.... it wasn't too much in that video.

    You're from the PacNW... you know rough. You guys have quite a fetch there when it comes from the W, NW, SW, etc...

    Fanie: The only thing I really felt I needed was a better helm seat. I stood most of the time because the helm seat I had didn't have sides on it. If it was a lot stronger, a set of drogues would have been helpful, but we were only a light/moderate gale to test this boat out.
     
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