Favorite rough weather technique

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

  1. Chickadee
    Joined: Jul 2005
    Posts: 88
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 78
    Location: Europe

    Chickadee Junior Member

    Mmmmh... heave-to, make some tea, relax, and play dominoes ?
     
  2. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 3,497
    Likes: 147, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 2291
    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I have a magnetic chess set: are there magnetic dominoes?
     
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,124
    Likes: 899, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Relaxing is not really an option. When you are tossed violently around, getting wedged tight in a bunk is the best you get.
     
  4. Chickadee
    Joined: Jul 2005
    Posts: 88
    Likes: 5, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 78
    Location: Europe

    Chickadee Junior Member

    Please, I was kidding! :cool:

    With some boats and good, flat sails, you can point very close to the wind. Not too much speed, and less heeling! It's not possible to handle any boat like that in great winds and waves without stopping the boat and losing control, but it's a good position to face the waves. Pick just enough speed in the hollows if you can and need to face crests. And it goes again and again. Problem is that without a bike helmet or diving mask eyes get irritated by salt and wind, and after some hours you need to get a rest.

    I never sailed in huge waves with really long surfs, but I doubt this technique would work with "small" boats?

    The equation to find the best action depends on the sea (waves height and lenght, surfs), the wind, the boat and the crew... different conditions, different techniques ? I hope more experienced sailors will enlight us !
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,124
    Likes: 899, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Last strong gale I was in that didn't work. This was in february. I didn't have enough speed to get over the crest of the waves and was pushed back and flopped on one side and the other.
     
  6. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,192
    Likes: 208, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2054
    Location: Australia

    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Wedged somewhere in full wet weather gear waiting for new noises appear over the general cacophony.
    Take 5 minutes to get to the navstation and put a position in the log.
    Forget how to apply variation to get the compass heading and spend 10 minutes trying to draw little diagrams because nothing makes sense any more. True virgins cant vote twice .......;)

    Shakespeare's Tempest summed it up all those hundreds of years ago.
     
  7. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,192
    Likes: 208, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2054
    Location: Australia

    MikeJohns Senior Member


    Double enders have merits and disadvantages like any hull-form. We need to look at the total hull rather than one attribute such as the presence or lack of a transom.

    The double ended lifeboats of Norwegian fame (Redningskoites) from the late 1800’s were not generally mimicked in other parts of the world where extreme seaworthiness was required, they were also in the main rescuing seamen form double ended fishing sail-boats !

    In comparison the French and English North-Sea fishing boats took a completely different form and were seaworthy, faster, less prone to being pooped, and had reduced pitching tendencies.

    Marchaj noted in his tome on seaworthiness that there it has never been shown that the double ender is more seaworthy. Its reputation as being a single attribute that can provide a superior heavy weather hull-form is based on popular culture.

    As for going ‘backwards’ there’s a very real danger of surfing astern and damaging your steering gear and snapping off your rudder.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. BeauVrolyk
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 160
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 153
    Location: San Francisco, CA

    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    A few storms at sea

    I have read this thread with interest, as I've (unfortunately) spent a number of days at sea in ugly weather. I would strongly suggest that anyone reading any of this actually go sailing in bad weather and try out the different suggestions made here. Some of these suggestions don't work, in my experience, and some are entirely dependent upon what sort of boat you find yourself upon.

    A few general observations:

    1) Light and strong boats are always better at surviving bad weather because they don't break (thanks to modern extremely strong materials) and because their light weight allows them to spend more time above the water and less under it. Heavy boats can be strong, if correctly built, but they get buried by large waves and having a lot of water on deck is always dangerous to the crew, regardless of how "traditional" the owner feels his boat is. Progress has been made in yacht design, and much of it has yielded genuinely better designs, ignore that at your peril.

    2) Boats with fuller ends tend to do better than those with narrow ends. Long narrow ends with lots of overhang look wonderful, and I own a day sailer like that, but they are always less sea worth and more dangerous than a boat of similar displacement with fuller ends. The buoyancy in the ends allows the boat to go over the waves, rather than through them. This is always safer - see #1 above. This is my strongest argument against double ended boats. The stern needs to have enough volume to lift it over a wave, this is frequently hard if the boat has a long narrow pointed stern. If the stern is short and full, for buoyancy, then why bother making it double ended? Why not have a flat transom that can be tied up to a pier or queue?

    3) Boats seem to survive in terrible weather if they can be sailed in high winds and big seas, and don't drive the crew below (by being underwater). It is almost always better to keep sailing that curling up down below with a cup of tea. This, IMHO, is because bad things happen on deck during terrible weather and it's better to be there where you can do something about it, rather than having all hands below. It's no that I enjoy sitting out in a big gale, but I have caught a chafing sheet or failing sail too often to want to abandon my boat to the elements without watching it. Further, if the boat is being sailed it can be guided around the various things that come up, waves, land, other boats, etc... I distinctly remember sailing past a Valiant-40 in 50 knots of wind. I was about three boat length away and there was no one on deck. Sure, we might have missed each other without me sailing away from them, but we might not have. In those conditions, where seas were really large, any contact would have caused significant damage. Finally, I was struck by how well the boats in the 1979 Fasnet did if they were being actively sailed, and how poorly they did when the crew went below to hide.

    4) My final comment is that I have never managed to get a boat to lay to any sort of sea anchor and be as safe and comfortable as it is when it's being sailed. I've tried, and the jerking and yanking as the boat comes up on the end of its rode and is held by the sea anchor is quite violent. I would strongly recommend bringing enough crew that you can properly sail your boat 7/24 regardless of the conditions, and count on your sailing skills rather than some anchor or drogue.

    Hope this helps, it's the result of over 40 years of sailing a lot of miles.

    Beau
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 951
    Likes: 35, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: -12
    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    In my youth I used to lash the helm down and lie ahull. Amazing I never got rolled over that way. Don't do that anymore. If conditions are not too strong, I deep reef the main , sheet it to windward, douse the jib ,and lash the helm down, thus heave too. In rougher conditions, or if the wind is going my way and gets too strong, I drag a drogue of the stern quarter. This holds the boat at a slight angle and the pressure of wind on the rig takes the roll out of her. Lately, I have made up a galerider type drogue, which friends used with great success in the Queen's Birthday storm off New Zealand. They found they had to keep shortening the rode, until it was 80 ft long, to keep it from fouling the skeg, At 80 feet it was no longer a problem. Small steel yachts are far stronger than any lighter hull made of expesive high tech material, and will never break.
    I don't worry about water on deck because, once the drogue is set, I never go on deck until things calm down again.
    Any drogue off the bow will have the boat sheering around it, unless you use the bridal arrangement that the Pardy's use . Too much hassle for me. Still doesn't protect the rudder enough for my liking.
    I once tried surplus parachute. It was shiny, so I assumed it was nylon. It was shiny cotton and only lasted an hour and a half before shredding. Don't assume any parachute is nylon .Test it with a flame first.
     
  10. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,192
    Likes: 208, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2054
    Location: Australia

    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Better at survivng that light weak boats ?

    A heavy boat can be designed with considerably more reserve strength than any lightweight regardless of material.

    Light weight boats are not any stronger because of their new and expensive materials, these are used to make the boat even lighter but not stronger.

    Heavier boats can also be designed with healthy stability with a sensible GM while also having a larger roll gyradius, both mass and a high roll gyradius make the boat more comfortable and harder to knock-down or invert. For example an open 60 has a high roll gyraduis (from a 15 foot bulbed keel) but a cruising lightweight has design constraints.


    As for shipping the sea; How much water you get over the deck is a function of many aspects of the hull design and little to do with displacement alone.

    Full ends and short heavy boats can be a poor combination both for speed and for motion, which is where many people will find the modern lightweight much more comfortable. But a well designed heavier boat will in most instances give a much more comfortable ride overall.

    Biased opinions are easy to form from poor experiences on indifferently designed boats, many of which were compromised from their conception by being designed to be competitive under one or another rating rule.

    In the far flung corners of the cruising world the live-aboards sailing happily short handed on long trips away from home tend to gravitate to heavier more comfortable boats with lower accelerations.

    The best heavy weather tactic of all is to get on the biggest boat with the most experienced crew and sail the most comfortable course allowed.
     
  11. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 951
    Likes: 35, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: -12
    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    Once you have lived aboard a cruiser for any length of time, with all the neccesities, including adequate ground tackle etc , there is no such thing as a light cruiser. Those designed to be light will be much further below their designed waterline than those which were designed to be heavier.
    Theories about the advantages of light displacement cruisers are just that , theories, with little relevance in the real world of long term cruising.
    I prefer my 3/16th steel plate when cruising at hull speed on a dark moonless night, thinking about all the cargo containers which are lost every year. High teck light wouldn't give me any real peace of mind
     
  12. sabahcat
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 792
    Likes: 28, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 273
    Location: australia

    sabahcat Senior Member

    I used one of these http://www.paraanchors.com.au/ on passage to New Caledonia on a 32 ft cat once and loved it.

    Went from a way to fast (even with tripple reefed main and a minuscule blade jib) crashy bashy smashy, eyes like dinner plates, green across the deck
    to a dinner and a few rum and cokes on deck and a very pleasant nights sleep and well rested crew in the morning.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. sabahcat
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 792
    Likes: 28, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 273
    Location: australia

    sabahcat Senior Member

    I disagree and lets take 2 examples

    If taking for a catamaran that is designed to be built in say, western Red Cedar, Ply, Glass and epoxy with a displacement of 8500kg and a lightship of 4700kg (carrying capacity 3800kg)

    And then building the same boat in Foam Kevlar epoxy, so quite a bit lighter, what do you think would happen?

    I would suggest that the later would be able to carry more than the former.
     
  14. BeauVrolyk
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 160
    Likes: 10, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 153
    Location: San Francisco, CA

    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    A couple of

    Mike,

    I have a few comments where we don't agree. First, while I certainly agree that for any given boat a heavier one can be stronger than a lighter one. This is irrelevant to the issue of what material one uses to build a boat. For a given weight, the issue is how strong a boat can one build. My point is that one should choose a target strength and achieve it with the lightest possible design for all sorts of good reasons. Carbon and epoxy boats are substantially stronger than any other construction materials known for a given weight. While many racers have used modern materials to build lighter boats, there are many examples of the use of these materials to build stronger boats. Clearly the Volvo round the world race boats are vastly stronger than America's cup boats. For cruising I know of a number of folks who have added tremendous strength to their boats with carbon without adding much weight.

    A great example of improving strength while making a much better riding boat is to build a carbon rig. Of course one can utilize the better strength to weight ratio of carbon to only build something lighter. But, one can also choose to use some of the vastly greater strength to make the rig stronger while also being a lot lighter. This will improve the ride of the boat substantially.

    Second, I think that while there are certainly a lot of cruising sailors sailing along on heavy old fashioned boats, I don't take this as much of a recommendation. I would point out that there are people still sailing the world with boats that have yard arms, fisherman anchors, and oil lamps. While I do enjoy these things, and have an old wood boat built in 1946, I would never claim that these feature are "better". I would, in contrast, point to boats like those designed by Steve Dashew (sp?), Tom Wyle, and Perry. These boats are much lighter weight, have modern underbodies, and while they certainly have a quicker roll speed and high accelerations when pitching they are extremely comfortable sailing boats.

    Third, I couldn't agree with you more when you say that many boats out there are the ******* children of some racing rule. But that's certainly not true of all of them. There are plenty of examples of cruising dedicated designs and a number are taking advantage of various new materials.

    Finally, regarding water on deck. Some folks have written that they don't care, they're below, or something to that effect. Also, you've commented that there's more to it that fuller ends - which I agree with. However, as a general principle a boat that travels above the water in tough conditions has to be safer, and is in my experience much nicer to sail on, than one that ships the sea aboard frequently. Amongst the things that modern materials can bring is lower polar moment due to a lighter rig and ends of the boat, much stronger sails and rigging for a given weight, and a near elimination of corrosion and rot. All of these things lead to a more sea worthy boat.

    Without a doubt, being on a big strong boat is best. Being ashore in a storm is even better.

    BV
     

  15. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 722
    Likes: 40, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 507
    Location: New York

    DGreenwood Senior Member

    Now here is a man with real and varied sailing experience. Not droning a litany of endlessly repeated BS that is so prevalent in these conversations.
    Yes, sailing yourself out of trouble is always the preferred and safest method. Drogues are madness, heaving to is a last ditch, lying ahull is death, and sailing a boat that is light and agile enough to stay atop the water and actually sail with a very reduced sail area is easily the most comfortable and safe approach.
    Houses and topsides that have so much windage that you lose the ability to actually sail by the time you are to the third reef, is dangerous. Being constantly overrun by waves is extremely damaging to any boat. Not being able to move fast enough to get out of the way of oncoming storms is asking for it and spending more time in ones that do get you is unnecessary.
    Light and strong does not mean uncomfortable. It means safe.

    Having said that---I agree with Mike---mostly. I think one needs to be careful with using the terms heavy and light...they can mean many different things.

    And as far as small boats and heavy weather...! Let's just say get a bigger boat with less interior. If you get caught in a doosey in a sub 30' boat, there is no amount of seamanship that will get me to bet on your survival. My lower figure for a world cruiser has nothing to do with the required accommodation---that figure is around 50'.
     
    1 person likes this.
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.