Favorite rough weather technique

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

  1. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    I think Brent makes an extremely good point. A boat used for long term cruising is going to accumulate a bit of gear over time. It needs to be able to pack a little weight.

    On the issue of size and survival I think one might consider the balances between the ability to pack some weight and the desirability of having a more modest rig when handling gear in heavy weather. You've got to size the boat to the crew available. All boats demand comprimises in design, such is life. I'd feel pretty good being in a well built steel hull in a big blow. I'd tend towards aluminum thinking about paint but in the ultimate storm I'd gladly make a deal with God that involved the chance to live in exchange for painting her one more time :)

    Brent, I wonder if you could expand a bit on your storm techniques and the galerider construction etc.? What do you do if the wind isn't going in your direction. I wouldn't consider Pardey's bridle to be too much of a hassle if I was facing the bad stuff. I don't like the idea of depending on a swivel like I think he does for the anchor chute, maybe one off a tuna clipper seine net perhaps but I've see a lot of swivels wear out and break.
  2. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    The point is a popular one though I believe less valid as size increases.
    My 41' racer/cruiser carries all the heavy gear and still rides fair on her lines.
    My bower has a 300' length of chain I purchased from a dismayed owner of a 32' cruising boat. He put the chain on the boat & she pitched down by the bow so badly that he decided to go with rode. On my boat the trim just does not change with the chain loaded.
    I do make a point of occasionally tossing off the beach pebbles that guests manage to collect and leave lying about..

    The flock of 35' and less coastal cruisers pressed into longer range voyaging are of the types most often seen overloaded.
    It's also important to note that these folks are having a blast in their improper boats.

    Brent- Your designs don't appear to be in the heavy cruiser category, am I missing something?
  3. Tigawave
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: Buckland

    Tigawave Junior Member

    For really rough in my last boat, it was heave to with backed storm jib only tha stack pack had enough windage to work as a staysail, go below secure hatch and boards, wedge in by the radio and listen to others in the same storm, or get some rest until the next day. This worked on a Bavaria 390 really well in 15m seas and solid 50+ knots with breaking seas. Fortunately we had plenty of sea room.

    In another with very big confused breaking seas we ran at 13-140deg to the wind trailing ropes again with just the storm jib, at a speed that the auto helm could easily cope.

    It does depend very much on the boat and sail/mast plan.
  4. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    You get no more drift with the parachute off the stern than off the bow, but wiith the chute of the stern, you lie a lot more comfortably, without the sheering around. This also applies to windward shorelines, pointing the stern into the wind makes for a lot more comfortable night, as I recently pointed out to South Georgia bound skipper in one of my 36 footers. You do have to have something far less leaky and primitive than drop boards tho, preferably an aluminium door.
    My boats are moderate displacement, altho some may overload them a lot. are defilinely not super light displacement, nor heavy.. I try to keep them moderate in all respects , shapes and displacements which have been well proven.
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  5. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    Thanks Brent
  6. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Have reliable and redundant electronics to:

    know weather!!!

    Have a boat long enough to escape weather.

    Be NEVER, I mean N E V E R on schedule. There is definetively NO excuse, no excemption.

    Have not only sufficient crew, but one more.

    Have skilled crew only, when passagemaking (ten miles from shore you do´nt have weather, when you´re mentally ok).

    Escape, escape, escape the front, until a point when you are dead sure you cannot. Then turn towards (right in time, not too late) and actively steam against it. Different boats at different settings and techniques, naturally.

    The one who leaves the cockpit (or watch position) on a boat I master, is sharkfood the same moment.

    Going below is the same as closing the eyes right before the Tramway hits you.

    Stay as dry as possible ALL the time you are sailing. The weight and cost of a third sailing suit is a laugh compared to the cost of a passage, but staying warm can save your life.

    Leave the drogues or parachutes in the locker. They are good to keep you away from leeshore for another few minutes when it´s dead calm, and old roller is pushing you, and your engine is shot. In severe weather they are not the best solution.

    I know that all is not valid for Brent, his equipment has no wear and tear, he does´nt need electronics (Poseidon negotiates his plans with him), and a "Musto" outfit for 1k $ is sure not what he likes to have, let alone three.

    My two cents Gentleman.

    (just back from a short Winter trip on a 9m toy in the Aegean Sea)
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  7. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Richard was last seen, with a tiny gang of loyalists, heading towards Timor in a small, open sailing craft. Many sharks were seen. It is reported that no man left his post during the entire voyage... ;-)
  8. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Fanie Fanie

    My biggest fear is if the weather won't let up. We went fishing for two weeks once off the coast so we weren't on the water. The wind was something else, you'd walk at 45 degrees to the wind and downwind you can walk as fast as running. It was like that the whole time and it wasn't much fun.

    During all this I saw some boats, and one could see it wasn't comfortable for them. Saw a red help flare one night when we were out but couldn't do anything since we were trapped on a dune in high tide.

    During such long spells it would probably be best to find a fishing spot where a bit of protection exists.

    I liked the bikini idea, any excuse is good for a woman to undress :D I once read up on some myths, and a bad one is to have a woman aboard, it is however a good one if she is naked, so there you go. Wherever you sail, when you see a cloud somewhere (anywhere) all the wiemen aboard gets undressed :D I bet it will save the boat too.

    I like the idea of a drogue, but I've made myself a serie of small drogues instead of one big one. Imo it may handle easier. I can imagine that is the thing to have when you travel downwind.

    One reason I'm scared of a power only boat is, what do you do when you run out of resources, fuel the first concern. Someone e-mailed me a few pictures of a boat that was swept aground when it went out of fuel. Couple of mil boat destroyed. If the guy had sails it could have been avoided, unless of course he didn't like the boat and needed the insurance money :rolleyes:

    Some nice hints from old :D salties, thanks for sharing.
  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    The real danger, running out of fuel you see on sailing boats! They just have insufficient bunkers for some adverse conditions.
    When a motorvessel runs out of fuel, send the skipper to the asylum.
    Just the last few days trip has shown again how important it is to have a sailing boat bunkered full. We were in a narrow channel between two islands with a swell coming in, and some uncomfortable rollers, there was deadly no wind, and without the engine we would have definetively stranded on the rocks (in the uninhibited part of course).

    Do the home work and be a nasty skipper, do not and never give leave, the rules are cast in iron.
    When you cut the problems in half, you triple the fun, even as a nasty master.

  10. sabahcat
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    sabahcat Senior Member

    Dont you have to paint the green on Fridays as well?
  11. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    I've read an article where the wind died down for days on end and they could do nothing but float. The guy said it drove them nuts. Unsure when the wind will come and if their supplies are going to make it.

    Does that count as rough weather as well ?

    I've been in some uncomfortable waves with a boat that requires active steering all the time. I don't want to be in that for hours never mind days. I think an auto steering will be a life saver.

    With a power boat you may want an accellerometer to do some throttle control so you don'd speed down the waves and stall up the next. A potentiometer with a counterweight and control may do this.
  12. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    What do you mean by this ?
  13. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    The right hand on the right lever does a hell of a good job Fanie (as on other occasions):D

    That can be one of the hardest I guess (but do´nt know, I am a motorboat man).
    Imagine you come home after a week of "nice" weather expecting applause!??
    How different is life when you weathered a 180km storm for just two days?

  14. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    ..and you a lightweigth man too :) There is a large amount of prejudice and heresay and opinions abound, but also there is a growing mass of facts research and careful experimentation and measurement; AKA naval architecture.

    When observing RAO’s for boats of widely varing displacement and hullform there is very little difference in resistance for some wave spectra and courses sailed.
    With the weather anywhere on the bow there are definite target displacements for finite spectra , going lighter or heavier than that results in a greater resistance. Adding displacement can make the boat faster up to a point and it will surprise many lightweight advocates that they would consider the ideal windward boat as moderately heavy.That includes less water shipped over the bow and reduced pitching.

    Once off the wind for a sailboat in anything above strong wind all displacement vessels will easily travel faster than is prudent, in this situation controllability and lack of vices are very desirable survival features. Since the storm front will travel faster than the boat can it will pass, and then the prudent thing is to slow down relative to the direction of the weather, as Richard said the ship masters prudent course is slow ahead into the teeth of the beast, once in it you can’t outrun it.
    To consistently ocean Weather-Route with accurate forecasting to avoid heavy weather you really need a boat that can travel at 17 knots or more average which unfortunately small sailboats cannot . Coastal sailing is a different scenario and flavors many arguments but lets consider mid ocean.

    I wonder whether anyone here has ever seen a weights and moments calculation for a lightweight sailboat in cruising trim and considered what was included. ( If so I’d be very interested to see it ). Have a look at the GM and its also very informative to do a roll period calculation. A loaded lightweight boat very quickly become moderately heavy and the reduced GM makes them feel more comfortable with a slower roll. Ironically the very fact that they seem more stable and comfortable is actually due to a dangerous reduction in stability which is counter intuitive to what you feel.

    The idea is to design to the constraints from the outset to end up with a vessel that suits all the target criteria including theatre, RAO’s, stability, controllability and motion comfort. Design should be conducted considering the worst case. That includes motion induced incapacity, exposure, noise, vibration, sleep, food preparation, usable heads …all this makes a safer vessel.

  15. apex1

    apex1 Guest


    half of the 17kn, I think are a reasonable speed for at least coming out of the most dangerous quadrant.
    But that is already something in the 14m wl ballpark? I mean steady speed in open ocean seas for 24 hrs.
    Having a 24 hr prediction that may enable you to go over 200 miles in the right direction. (of corse the wrong if you have a destination point!)

    Several systems I´ve seen travelling below the common 18 - 20 kn (heavy weather), that gives us a chance to escape sideways, ja hmm, sometimes.....

    Sometimes, when there is enough energy in the water, even a 12 hr forecast is unreliable though. The buddies in the northerly parts of your country know that well. (not that you do´nt).
    I even could not avoid some adverse weather with a motorboat capable of 17,4kn max. and 16 cont.
    There was enough fuel to ride it out for some weeks though. (not at 16kn)

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