Favorite rough weather technique

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

  1. LyndonJ
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    LyndonJ Senior Member

    Yes good point,

    Heavy weather and ultimate survival breaking seas and you have a choice.

    It's just like driving through Iraq on a motorbike and sidecar or in a Hummer and those folks at Hummer sure crank up the instilling fear thing to sell their product :rolleyes:

    And while we are in your analagy, do You want to drive from Paris to Capetown with all your gear in a light low fast light Maserati or a heavy well sprung all wheel drive? Your analogy.
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    European cars can now take such collisions that the human being could survive if the internal organs could, even though the cage (where you sit) is not damaged.

    Mercedes Micro 60MPH impact into concrete barrier, leg room , seats , steering etc all clear of the body. You will not be hurt externally but the internal organs can not take it.

    It is design that does this, not bigger and stronger, thats is obsolete USA car design thinking and why the American auto industry is in difficulties.
  3. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Well, it's great to learn from people - but why not learn from the NAs who actively ocean race, and who say that modern boats are safe? Or from the NAs who say that light boat or heavy boat, if you got hit by a big wave in the 98 Hobart you would be in trouble.

    No one's saying that we want boats to be dangerous. However, some of us
    are dubious about the examples and statistics that are used to 'prove' that modern boats are more dangerous.

    An example that strikes me is Claughton's work on capsizing following the '79 Fastnet. I'm not, of course, saying it's wrong. What I do wonder is why the issue which caused from 1 to 3 (tragic) deaths gets so much attention, when issues that caused more deaths get less attention.

    Similarly, why are problems with heavy boats so often said to be a specific issue with a specific boat (as is the case with WC, for example) whereas problems with light or fat boats are often used as examples that the entire type is dangerous (a la Grimalkin)?

    1- Megga saw some missing putty (there was putty over the caulking) when he was swimming near WC before the race, which lead to a lot of speculation. However, there is no evidence that there were fastening issues there, and note that Megga, a vastly experienced ex navy man, kept on delivering lightweight racing yachts shorthanded until he recently died of natural causes on board a Volvo 60 in a delivery. If he hated lightweights, he wouldn't have delivered them around the world as a hobby.
  4. capt vimes
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    capt vimes Senior Member

    to my knowledge and information the Winston Churchill had the windward chainplate(s) ripped out when hit by a huge wave - this caused the mast to 'jump' and on coming down crashed through the deck and piercing a rather large hole in the hull as well... sinking it within less than 20 minutes...

    i am still searching for this article...
  5. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    There's no mention of a hole in the deck anywhere in the crew's statements, and certainly no mention of the mast foot going through the hull.

    The chainplates and the area around the mast foot were rebuilt when Winning bought the boat.


    http://www.equipped.org/sydney-hobart/Volume 05.htm

    for the sworn testimony of the crew and shipwrights.
  6. BeauVrolyk
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor


    We're a long way from Heavy Weather sailing, so I guess this thread has ground to a halt - about time. I have some simple rules for cruising, and after this I'll sign off:

    1) Never sail upwind unless absolutely necessary - it usually isn't.
    2) Never sail on a schedule - ever - it can kill you.
    3) Never sail where you can't swim off the boat - solves showering.
    4) Never sail with people who can't sit quietly for four hours without needing radio, tv, etc... Books are ok, but only barely.
    5) Never sail for money - never again.

    Having done many many thousands of miles at sea, I'm convinced that bringing along a lot of "stuff" means you're spending your time maintaining a lot of "stuff". During that time, you could be sailing someplace. My goal is and has always been to actually go sailing, not to hang about in ports any longer than necessary, and certainly not to "move in" to any place. Thus, maintenance of complex systems, while I know how to do it well and get paid to do it, is not something I ever want to do again.

    The point of sailing is to get into the sort of zen state that one can occasionally reach while sailing a long leg, completely concentrating on the feeling of the wind/waves/boat, and without a sound.

    It's probably the reason I like to sail alone, and I certainly no not stink! LOL! That's what rule number 3 is all about. Even if painful, you always go for a swim before going ashore - the girls don't like smelly sailors.


    1 person likes this.
  7. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Fanie Fanie

    Oh hell I just bought a car radio with a TV, DVD player and all the bells and whistles for the boat.

    Must I rather give it back :D I was thinking those long times there are no wind ;)

    I've got a 21" and an 11" 12V monitor, the radio has an extra video input, be nice if you can play the GPS through it to the big screen.
  8. LyndonJ
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    LyndonJ Senior Member

    Many of the interpretations rest on saying "look at Winston, she was an old heavy full keeler but she sank..."

    But is it really useful or is it just very creative :?:

    If you look at the vessel and do what others have said already that you need to crunch the numbers and compare those rather than the broad generalisations.

    1:Old trad timber vessel that had already had refastening work required in other areas of the hull. It sprung or had a plank ripped off rather than stove in, to the trad wood boatbuilders that's important .

    2: The stability figure from her certificate: AVS you can probably quote yourself was abysmally low for a "trad full keel" , it was a go-fast boat from a transition period of design . So it was more likely to fall off a wave or trip on the deck edge.

    Lets apply an illustrative real simple test:
    If it had made of GRP to the same stregth as wood planking would it have sunk : very unlikely
    Metal: definately not
    Would it have rolled: It didn't anyway , didn't even lose it's rig

    If it had a narrow hull and a higher AVS would it have been damaged : a lot less likely according to Marchaj, Claughton, Renilson .

    Did the other full keeler than sank invert? Was it a design issue? No one even knows why it sank it was filling with water from somewhere.
    Recently I saw a report where a steel barge sank beacasue a bad weld cracked and a plate sprung. Then there's a bad weld on a keel that caused it to break off, it's definate that it's not a design issue of the boat form, and this needs separate consideration.

    Now apply those to Sword and the others that were mashed .

    By all the measures Niad was in danger from the moment the wind blew hard. That's real illustrative, if any vessel was going to be rolled it was Niad.

    Seems you need to actually compare the figures, like the posts previous on Roll intertia, the volvo 60 , 70, has a huge roll inertia even though it's lightweight. So it's far less likely to invert.
    Seems Inversion really kills a boat, removes the rig and injures the people and nearly always floods the boat.
    Even though it's still floating it's not viable except as a survival platform till after the storm and with that rig gone its far more likely to be inverted again and again. With people inside with loose gear and partial flooding you may well be safer in the blowup raft.
    To imply the vessel was afloat after the storm and after the airlift so it was safe to stay on is a load of cobblers mate.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  9. LyndonJ
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    LyndonJ Senior Member

    Heres a good powerpoint presentation with maps of of the sea conditions that developed.


    Note the actual wave heights and the fact that the east coast blocks a lot of directions the underlying swell that's present in the open ocean.

    How much worse would it have been if the sea generated by the wind had been superimposed on a large SW swell which would have added teirs and results in superposition and massive waves.
  10. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I didn't say that a damaged boat was particularly safe to stay on - I merely pointed out that all (or just about all) of the lightweights got through the storm when two of the heavyweights didn't, and that it's safer to be on a damaged lightweight than a sunken heavyweight.

    If you really think it's better to get out of a damaged boat and into a raft then you must have completely missed the Fastnet report, and everything else ever written on the comparative safety of a damaged boat v a liftraft.

    And if you asked the crewmen of Winston Churchill whether they were better off drowning or suffering hypothermia rather than sitting on a damaged boat, I'm fairly sure of the answer they would give.

    What is a load of cobblers is ignoring the fact that one heavy boat with a good record sank, merely because the crew could not find where the water was coming in.
  11. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Police evidence states that extremely experienced rescue helicopter crews (like the one who had also done the '79 Fastnet rescue) saw their radar altimeters registering 90 foot waves.

    Those were bloody awful conditions, far outside the experience of almost all of the very experienced people in many of the crews.

    To quote one of the Tasmanian meteorologists' testimony, "the winds that occurred were of the order of the strongest winds that have been observed at the various reporting points, but not greatly and in some cases not, not greater than the highest winds ever recorded at those stations. But it was of, in that range. In decades of measurement tht was the sort of winds that, the strongest winds that, that could be encountered in that area".

    The BOM official response to the CYCA report said that it was a "one in eight to ten years event", based on wave conditions at Kingfish B, with extreme wave heights to 15m.

    Therefore there was no doubt that this was NOT a run-of-the-mill bit of nasty weather.

    As I understand it from the BoM official response, the graphics you presented were a model of the Bureau's estimate of the wave height and were NOT actual measurements.

    There are many who believe that the conditions around the eastern strait, where the swells are chopped up, are far worse than in more open waterways like the west coast of Tassy. For example, I know of one cruising couple with 140,000 nm experience, including Alaska and the Horn, who state that the Sydney-Hobart route includes the nastiest bit of water they know - and their S-H was in a westerly pattern year that was much kinder than '98. In 2000, there were half a dozen Round the World crews who did the Hobart in their VO 60s as a lead-up event, and reported to Seahorse that the Hobart was harder than any part of the RTW. And I know two merchant officers, with experience on runs like the one around the Cape of Good Hope and Agulhas and on oil rig vessels in the Strait, who rate the weather in that area at that time as quite exceptionally bad.
  12. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Rough weather techniques, to a certain extent, assume a boat with structural integrity. However, boats break in rough weather for several reasons. The reasons themselves do not matter in this discussion, but techniques to survive them do. Structural and design discussions are covered in many other threads.
  13. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    So you gotta know where your boat will break? Like you gotta know its weak points. That might not be as daft as it seems I think we all know our boats and deep down we know their weaknesses. Maybe that mast repair you did last year or that skin fitting that was never replaced.

    If you were really really honest with yourself you know what will break on your boat.
    Honesty beyond honesty would be yourself that would break first.
  14. capt vimes
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    capt vimes Senior Member

    thank's for that link...

    from winnings testimonial I:
    "...the vessel had aslo sustained some sort of, of underwater damage because she was making water very quickly, wether it was a, a sprung plank or the mast pushed the bottom of the boat ... i, i didn't know..."

    so you lied in your first sentence already... ;)

    i remember reading an article on this tragedy and it came to the conclusion that the mast actually pierced the hull!
    what i mixed up, where the side of the damage to the chainplates... it was the leeward side from the knockdown... resulting in loose shrouds and a loose mast pushing through the hull...
    that was the findings several qualified experts came to...
    although my memory might be foggy about the details, i definitely recall the result and the agreed cause for the loss of the winston churchill... ;)

  15. sliderule
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    sliderule Slide Rule Guy

    Favorite Technique - "Rope a Dope"

    Favorite Rough Weather Technique - We call it "Rope a Dope" on our boat - so named for the famous Ali/Foreman fight where Ali exhausted his hard punching opponent to the amazement of the pundits. More commonly called fore reaching. More specifically "fore reaching" on starboard tack because that is where the "way out" or the exit sign usually is. In most cases reaching on starboard tack will take you most quickly out of a low pressure circulation in the northern hemisphere.

    The first rule is to avoid really bad weather. Recognize that the type of boat has a big impact on the tactics available to you. I have a 44 foot moderate displacement sloop (21k) with a spade rudder and a 7 foot fin keel with a "foot" or semi bulb. It starts becomes dangerous (although very fast) to run away in heavy seas because it wants to broach if you get inattentive at the helm. Alternativel the boat gets hammered going upwind. Going slow and losing steerage seems to be a really bad strategy, and seems likely to snap the rudder off. A wallowing or backing boat feels out of control and vulnerable to me. The boat is amazingly controllable reaching parallel to even very large seas with significantly reduced sail (flattened to the max), vang off to let the top twist parallel to the wind and the boom up. You want the boom high because you may dip it and break it. A very small jib or unrolled part of the working jib to keep the boat balanced. Fore reaching is like skiing in moguls, you watch the sea formation and breaking patterns avoid the worst patterns. Your storm reef should be cut cringle high so that the boom sits up higher than normal. Fill the bottom of the sail and let the top fall to leeward.

    Even though I carry storm sails, I have tried to create faster ways to reduce sail. I have four reefs in my main. Two pretty normal reefs, a third reef for gale force, and a fourth reef for storm force winds (the sail numbers are at the boom). I have a spectra 85% working jib that I can roll down to a handkerchief. I actually prefer this to hauling down 1100 sq foot of wet sails at great risk to the crew and finding a place to put them below. That said there is nothing wrong with having the storm jib and trysail for a desparate situation.

    Forereaching (usually on starboard tack), with steerage, under control, with the right amount of sail up as quickly as possible out of trouble is a good strategy. We can average 12 or 15 kts at this angle in these conditions and that is a significant enough speed to get away from the worst of a storm or depression. We use Sirius Satellite Weather and then 48 mile radar to track squalls and storms.

    This has worked for me during four Bermuda Races and returns, but I'm open to anyone's suggestions on this topic.

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