Favorite rough weather technique

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by gonzo, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It's also a matter of personality. I tend to drive boats hard regardless of conditions.
     
  2. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Lyndon, I have indeed read Heavy Weather Sailing. I think the first time I read it was in the mid 1960s when I was a teenager. I looked at the Amazon listing and they have updated the book. I have to admit I have not read the latest (6th) edition. But, earlier editions did not even consider planing hulls which could attain speeds similar to the wave speeds and therefore have very little differential speed between the wave and the boat, and much reduce apparent wind speed. I may buy the new edition just to have a look.

    Please don't confuse ultra light boats (I'd use the TP-52 as an example) which are not particularly tough and don't have a very good record in storms, with what I'm talking about. There is a massive difference in seaworthiness between a TP-52 and a Volvo 70, and the older fixed keel Volvo 60s are even more seaworthy. The various (primarily French) single handed 'round the world racers are also extremely seaworthy, although the violate a lot of theories about beam vs draft etc... Finally, it is a gigantic mistake to consider almost any boat designed to the old IOR rule as seaworthy, IMHO (I know I'll raise some hackles for this comment.) This would immediately exclude nearly all the racing boats designed during the late 1970s and through to the early 1990s. (I may have the time span a bit off here.) While IOR boats were generally heavy, they had extremely low initial stability and the pinched sterns and tiny rudders made the boats terribly difficult to steer downwind in any substantial sea or wind. They were so unstable that with their small rudders, small mainsails and big chutes one had to frequently set a blooper just to go in a straight line down wind. Unfortunately, it was boats like this that were most often responsible for the terrible reputation as "cruising" boats that fin keel boats have. If, in stark contrast, you were to look at a Cal-40 (CCA rule boat) or a Moore-24 (no rule at all) or a Open-60 you'd find boats that are certainly extremely seaworthy - I would argue strongly that they are more seaworthy than something like a bristol channel cutter.

    Regarding the number of rescues at sea, I would suggest that you have a look at all the boats racing, examine what percentage of them are "full keel" boats and what are more modern racing boats. I believe you'll find it quite difficult to find any "full keel" (things like channel cutters) racing in places like the Sidney/Hobart, Fastnet, Bermuda, TransPac. A quick look at the last few years of races and I couldn't find more than a very small handful. These tend to be folks who are using the race to get someplace and when the weather gets ugly they go home (which certainly happened in the ugly Fastnet) rather than keep racing. The newer designs, crewed by aggressive crews, tended to stay out and keep racing. As a result, I don't think you can draw any conclusions at all from the number of rescues unless you do it as a percentage of miles sailed in a given condition.

    To the question of a passive approach and your assumption of the passive approach being required due to being short handed. I don't know how to answer this other than to point out that people have been racing around the world, across the Atlantic, from California to Hawaii and all over the place single handed for decades. I do single handed sailing, and while it is certainly very tiring at times, I would not modify my suggested technique. It is certainly true that a good autopilot is a mandatory requirements - one of the ones with the ultra smart six axis gyros to guide it - but there is no need to just lay there hoping the designer will save the day when you could be sailing the boat. In conclusion, on this point, I would ask that you have a look at the number of boats in the Fastnet (nearly all of them fin keel racing boats) that managed to survive long after their crews had abandoned ship. The most poignant was a sloop who's crew had all perished in their life raft while the small boat of about 40' soldiered on with her main hatch open and her sails in rags; at the end of the storm she was still floating.

    Finally, I completely agree that one must adapt the strategy to fit the boat that one is aboard when the bad weather arrives. But, that said and given your own proposal that at some point one is in the hands of the builder and designer, I would stress that some boats have many more strategies that will allow for survival than others. This, IMHO, should be determined experimentally by examining the results of two dissimilar boats in similar conditions, rather than any generalization or even theoretical model.

    Thanks for your comments,

    BV
     
  3. nikkitan108
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    nikkitan108 New Member

    hi sailing lessons

    where can i learn how to sail, are you in florida, can you recommend someone who will not overcharge me
     
  4. LyndonJ
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    LyndonJ Senior Member

    A volvo 60 may very well be seaworthy but we need to ask why that is.

    Anyone quickly looking over the specs will notice immediately that it has a 15 foot keel with a ginormous lump of lead on the end. It's hardly illustrative of a sensible boat, it's a blue water racing machine, and as a class they are horrifically wet with endless water on deck and have a high crew injury count. You really want to hold that as an example of a seaworthy boat :confused:



    But this has been done enough to indicate very clearly the trends assocated with designs

    the book "Heavy weather sailing" has moved on considerably since the early versions.

    Read Heavy Weather sailing 5 and the chapter by Andrew Claughton on the established differences between various types. The results are informative.


    Here's just a couple to chew over:

    In survival seas a narrow fuller keeled boat surfs just as easily under better directional control than a wedge shaped hull and is far less prone to broaching.

    A beamy boat is more prone to tripping over the deck edge and inverting when it's hit side on than a deep full keeled boat which has a higher wave height requied to invert it.

    But best to read the book, there's also incredible accounts such as Alan Webb staying on the helm for nearly two days on an Adams steel 45 foot boat called Supertramp as he and his wife surfed for survival, he said he owed his survival to the strong boat with excellent directional control.

    Heavy weather also looks at centre boarders and the trade-offs which should be of interest to you.
     
  5. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    About
    "Regarding the number of rescues at sea, I would suggest that you have a look at all the boats racing, examine what percentage of them are "full keel" boats and what are more modern racing boats. I believe you'll find it quite difficult to find any "full keel" (things like channel cutters) racing in places like the Sidney/Hobart, Fastnet, Bermuda, TransPac. A quick look at the last few years of races and I couldn't find more than a very small handful. These tend to be folks who are using the race to get someplace and when the weather gets ugly they go home (which certainly happened in the ugly Fastnet) rather than keep racing. The newer designs, crewed by aggressive crews, tended to stay out and keep racing. As a result, I don't think you can draw any conclusions at all from the number of rescues unless you do it as a percentage of miles sailed in a given condition."

    Yes, in a recent bad Hobart (2006?) the rate of retirements for heavier cruising style boats was NO higher than the rate for modern racing boats. However, there was a significant rate of people ASSUMING that the heavy boats did better! :)

    Lyndon, re

    "really well manned very fast slippery boats with lots of very experienced operaters on board end up mashed by the sea when the sea conditions get ugly. We've seen that now in several ocean yacht races and how do we account for the fact that it's the beamy light fin keelers that get mashed and the full keel heavier boats generally don't?"

    Please provide statisics. I've crunched the numbers on several occasions for several major races, and found NO tendency for beamy light fin keelers to get mashed while full keel boats don't.

    For example, out of the very small number (2 or 3?) of full-keel boats in the 1998 Hobart, there were two sinkings - Winston Churchill (several lives lost) and Miintanta (no lives lost). As a proportion of entries, that was a vastly higher loss rate than lightweights. Two of the conventional '60s designs suffered significant issues, despite their type being in a minority in the fleet.

    Someone here at BDS quoted a study that had supposedly analysed the full-keel boats in the '98 Hobart and found that they had a much better rate of survival than the fin keelers. However, no matter how I look at it, it seems that he has the number of full keel boats wrong, indicating a lack of homework. Secondly, IIRC the 'analysis' left out the fact that at least one of the longer-keeled boats rolled. In other words, the analysis was either sloppy or intentionally misleading.

    Re

    "But best to read the book, there's also incredible accounts such as Alan Webb staying on the helm for nearly two days on an Adams steel 45 foot boat called Supertramp as he and his wife surfed for survival, he said he owed his survival to the strong boat with excellent directional control."

    But without other boats of different types nearby and experiencing the same conditions, who can be sure to what extent the boat's design was responsible for surviving the storm? WIthout another boat surfing in the same way, how do we know the A 45 did so well?

    Let it be known that the Adams 45 has one hell of a reputation, but surely we cannot use a sample size of 1 as proof, when conditions vary so much?

    And different boats suit different sailors. As an analogy, some people can sail a Laser downwind at high speed easily while grabbing a drink, but most regular good Laser sailors in such conditions may capsize once a leg in such conditions, club racers may capsize three times a leg, beginner racers 10 times, and beginners may not be able to keep the boat upright at all. In strong winds in a class I sail, the top 5 racers nationally will sail around the course at 25 knots or more, 5 more will struggle to the finish, and 40 won't complete the course. To some of the sailors, it's a fun challenging sail, to others it is a case of hanging on for rescue.

    When there is so much variation between sailors, and when sailors can vary so much in their ability to handle different styles of boat, who can lay down the law on what is safe enough or not?

    Claughton's tests are interesting. What is also interesting is that so much of the testing about the 1979 Fastnet centred on inversion. Inversion is not nice, but more people died on heavy, conservative or non-IOR boats than died aboard fat 'lightweight' IOR boats. Those deaths just didn't attract as much attention.

    A VO 60 doesn't attract a high injury count compared to the earlier boats that did the same race. There were two or three deaths in the first crewed RTWR, in a fleet largely composed of cruisers. No such death or injury rate has been seen since. And a VO 60 tends to be pushed to the max in hairy conditions - more conservative boats are very rarely (if ever) pushed by pro crews who depends on wins for their livelihood.

    It's a bit like comparing a F1 car to a rusty old tradesman's van with bald tires and no shock absorbers. The F1 car is much safer but it's crashed much more often, per km travelled, but that's because it is being pushed to the limit.

    Some time ago, I interviewed two of the most experienced offshore racing owners in the world. Both have been racing from the days of 1960s heavyweight long-keelers, through to modern IRC boats. Both did, for example, the 1979 Fastnet. Both have won Hobarts, and won a Fastnet and a world title.

    Interestingly, both said that in reality, they felt that there was no difference in seaworthiness across the board. Their old boats wore out crew because they took so long to finish. Their IOR boats (of various eras) could be ornery or could be beautiful, depending on the particular boat and its conditions and trim at the time. As one noted, the fat light IOR boats could remain inverted, so you just didn't invert them, just like you don't drive your car into a lightpost and blame the car.

    OTOH, some vastly experienced and successful offshore racers prefer one of the heaviest boats around. It's slow for its length, but hugely successful because (despite all the rubbish thrown around) many rating rules are quite kind to slow boats.

    Since so many vastly competent and successful sailors prefer such different types, maybe they can all be pretty damn good?
     
  6. LyndonJ
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    LyndonJ Senior Member


    Retirements are sensible people dropping out of a race they have zilch to do with what I called getting mashed. Sword got mashed thats the sort of mashed I meant.... a broken boat particularly immediately after being rolled. Broken by the sea in one single simple event.

    It should be rolling that you look at , who cares iof the mast touched the water or not.
    Its the weak boats and the poor stability boats that end keel up that kill people more.

    Yep Winston got broken and sunk (but not rolled) but Winston was both apparently weak since they had already noted problems with the fastening of planks and a had unusually poor stability for a heavy boat. So I reckon she was compromised too and bears zero usefull resemblence to anything else. And would be predicted as a ppor design by Claughtons reasoning.

    Then if they hadn't lost the bulwark and part of the planking they would have survived. Relative to this are relatively recent designs that failed.

    As for the Volvo and people being injured, there was a good spread on this in Yachting World not that long ago you can also log onto UTUBE and look at the videos of these boats to windward and you'll quickly get the idea. Yep they stay on their feet and are driven hard but BV was arguing that that was a + strategy. Then the deck has 5 foot waves rolling down it both up and downwind at times.


    Andy Claughton has his chapter in Heavy Weather and it's not about the Fastnet (that was Marchaj), it's about vessel styles and characteristics and it's fully supported work by others even our own testing in Oz by Martin Relnison.

    The Japanse did one exhaustive idependatn comparison after the Osaka Guam tragedy .

    So look at the damage and breaking of boats in races and try and account for the experience of the crew. Racing boats ususally have a huge fresh and able crew. Cruiing boats have a couple of retired sextagenarians ( or so).

    Cruiing boats often have to stand on their own miles from support in unforcast storms, I mention Supertramp, the Adams 45 not as an argument of hullform (its a strong moderate fin keel boat ) but as an example of seamanship surfing in survival waves for nearly 2 days with 2 people on board. He notes that the fact that the boat was strong considerably reduced their anxiety-terror since they knew the boat would not be broken.

    So go read that chapter then have a fight with Andy Claughton since it's him I'm learning from.
     
  7. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    I'm sure if someone was interested they could do a study showing how much safer you would be in a horrific collision if you were driving a heavy mid-century Buick rather than a modern automobile.

    Yet we have all moved on from the mid-century Buick type automobiles.

    This is with full knowledge that we have a far greated possibility of being killed in an auto accident rather than on a yacht in rough weather.

    There are many, many boats that would be considered "light" that have been out cruising and crossing oceans for decades. Old IOR boats, old ULDBs, and production "fat sterned clorox bottles" are out there doing it, and I have not heard any more horror stories of their demise when compared to what I hear about older, heavier boats issues.

    Of course there is a small community whose livelihood depends on instilling fear into the gullible. I wonder if they all get to the boatyard in their Packards and deSotos. Better yet, maybe they drive to the market in retired Sherman tanks. Safety first!
     
  8. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    It's not the ride as much as the way you ride it!

    Lyndon and CT,

    I won't go through all the details, but I will buy the latest "Heavy Weather" and have a look at it.

    My comments about how seaworthy a Volvo 60 is are statements I'll stand by. Sure, they are wet when you RACE them. But, having sailed boats like that in a more conservative manner, I have found them to be astoundingly good boats. Easy to control and with tremendous strength. Perhaps they do have a big keel with a big old weight way down low, so what? We were talking about what makes a boat seaworthy, and I'd strongly suggest that deep heavy fin keels are a big piece of that. I'd also include small hatches, no windows, no darned deck houses to get torn off, and bomb proof hatches. I do not agree that the injury rate is higher on these boats than it was on the ancient deep keel boats (like the Swan 65 Syula (sp?) who won the first race. The old boats maimed a lot of my friends.

    My point about the Volvo 60, and other boats like them, is that it's not the boat you ride on so much as the way you ride it. Blasting along in a canting keeler at max speed is wet, ugly, and a little dangerous. But, cut the sail area by 50% and you'll have a tame astoundingly strong boat that is trivial to control and simply won't break.

    BV
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    It wont be fast and dangerous when its loaded with all the stuff you need to cruise with.

    Theres is not many marinas round here could take its draft.
     
  10. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Frosty, the "stuff" you take is entirely dependent upon what sort of lifestyle you want. I have sailed all my life and really enjoy leaving all the "stuff" on shore. No more generators, freezers, hot water, showers, flopper-stoppers, jet-ski, wind-surfer, the list goes on and on and on.... none of them for me. Not again!

    Cloths, food, a few spare parts... compared to what a Volvo boat carries to feed and house it's entire crew, I'd be riding very light. Probably need more ballast (LOL!).

    As to depth, last I checked the Volvo 60s (they don't have canting keels) the draft is about 12'. While that's deeper than most Channel Cutters, it's hardly going to keep you out of places like Sydney, Auckland, San Francisco, New York, Cowes, Cannes, indeed I'm having trouble thinking of a place I want to go that it wouldn't fit. You can even get into Makemo in the Tuamotu Islands without a problem. I spent years in the S. Pacific and other than the backside of Bora Bora, where it's 10' deep, I don't think you'd have any trouble with 12' draft.

    Anyway, no way I'm going sailing on one of these for Cruising:
    http://www.boatshed.com/volvo_60-boat-53476.html
    I'm more into this:
    http://www.easternyachts.com/thalia/index.htm
    Of course I'd take some stuff off it.

    BV
     
  11. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Those are natural harbours and yes of course you can get in there but the marinas are at the side where its shallow.

    I will not go cruising without the comforts of home or its basically like being in prison. Ive never been a minimalist.

    Surely you cant cruise with out satalite TV?
     
  12. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Frosty, I never told you - I HATE MARINAS! I love riding at anchor and not hearing the drunks on the dock, the horns honking, and the idiots on the dock saying things like: "Herbert, they have children on that boat!! That's child abuse!" So, I don't tend to wander in too close to the shore. A fella could run aground in there! LOL!

    Now, on to the comforts and our discussion of Volvo boats. Have a look at this thing:
    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2000/Baltic-Custom-78-2003372/Cogolin/France

    This sloop has the canting keel, all the toys, and I'll bet is sails gangbusters. Looks like you can have all your toys AND have a real sailing boat!!

    Best,

    BV
     
  13. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    You must stay in some terrible marinas, Im in one now as I type with free WiFi, there is a regatta on right now and the last race has just finished , big party tonight and then they all fck off home thank god.

    http://www.sail-world.com/Australia...ational-Regatta-2010:-Joined-at-the-hip/65454


    It looks much more exiting that it really is believe me,---I hate racing, stupid --if you want to go fast put an engine in it.
     
  14. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    I agree wholeheartedly

    and whats more

    i most definately dont want a TV anywhere near me

    couln't have said it better - thanks - i fully agree :D
     

  15. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I know an ol German that lives like that , no showers ,no water, he comes ashore for toilet. The guy STINKS you can smell him coming.

    He thinks he is a minimalist and we are waisting resources, I think thats what he said ,I don't get too close to him.

    Actually what he means is he cant afford it. His name is stinky Hanz,--nice eh?

    He is as popular as a pork pie at a Muslim wedding.

    In the tropics personal hygene needs attention you will get rashes and all sorts of sores, I suppose you intend living alone, with no crew?

    Sounds wonderful.-- forgive me if I shake my head.

    We have friends that dont have tv" oh we dont like TV" they come on my boat , sit down with knees together and have a drink in the air con. I cant get rid of them, they stare at the Tv like they had never seen one before.
     
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