Weather Routing and Seaworthiness

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by RHough, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. timgoz
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: SW PA USA

    timgoz Senior Member

    Sorry. I accidentally posted twice.
     
  2. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: BC Summers / Nayarit Winters

    RHough Retro Dude

    My System

    I started looking at this during one of the Whitbreads. At the time Kiwi-Tech was doing the software that gave the digital performance information during the AC races and the weather routing software that many of the Whitbread boats were using.

    My learning curve has included 3 laptops that gave their lives for the cause, and countless hours getting instruments to talk to each other reliably. It was a royal pain in the arse, but I'm *very* stubborn.

    RNS does all the normal chartplotter functions and planning (not as well as Nobeltec's Visual Nav Suite) and real time boat speed targets and weather routing. It also has a data recording function that allows you to build your own polars based on real world data. RNS also has the ability to become a radar display (if you have a Raymarine Radar). It handles C-Map, Navionics, BBS, and GeoTiff charts. (DFW does only C-Map, or some Euro format that I know nothing about). For $98 a year, Raymarine supplies 7-day GRIB's and text weather forecasts and warnings emailed once or twice a day.

    For route planning, I use Visual Passage Planner. It's a neat little program based on historic pilot chart data from ship's logs over 100 years or so. There are routing options for using the average data for each point or the highest probability data. Of course data is better for major sailing routes because the sample size is larger.

    I also look at weather fax's available from several sources on-line and by e-mail or HF radio.

    My system is an ICOM SSB, SCS Pactor III HF Modem, RNS and Raymarine Instruments, Autopilot, and Radar. I have a backup GPS unit that can function as a stand-alone or to replace the Raymarine GPS that is the primary. I'm working on getting the time required to run the SSB and full instrument system to a minimum each 24 hours to reduce the electrical system load. I can upload the routing waypoints to the back-up GPS every time I run a new route and plot 24-48 hours of waypoints (every 4 hours) on paper with magnetic headings. I can then hand steer when it suits me and only run the AP and Plotter when I'm "off watch". The paper plot and DR's between routing runs keeps me busy doing "real navigation" and provides a back-up just in case I manage to fry the system or the lightning ground system fails and fries it for me.
     
  3. FrancoisP
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: Europe

    FrancoisP New Member

    Real life experience of weather routing

    Dear all,

    I read the seaworthiness thread which led to this weather routing challenge. I believe it might be worth reading this brief blog of an Atlantic crossing on Formidable 3:
    http://www.antonputtemans.com/category/formidable3/

    It is prizeless if you start with the first comment at the bottom of the page.

    Formidable 3 is a 56-feet high performance racing boat, owned by Dutchman Piet Vroon. Piet Vroon is a highly experienced sailor who won the 2001 Fastnet race (on his previous boat, Tonnerre, if I remember correctly). A few pictures taken aboard Formidable 3:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnqUYRRMl0I

    What is the message here? Well, as has already been pointed out, weather rounting has its limits. Personnally, I would certainly not count on it to avoid heavy weather in all circumstances, even on a normally very easy ocean crossing such as the ARC.

    To make matters clear, I am rather a member of the light-weight brigade. I am about to have a one-off fast cruiser built: LOA 45 ft, LWL 44 ft, light-weight displacement 6.9T, full load displacement 8.6T.

    Best regards,

    Francois
     
  4. KawRiverrat
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Kansas

    KawRiverrat New Member

    Hello fellas, I am new here. I love a good debate.....But I would like to say something. I think hiracer makes a valid point.
    People have since the cell phone has been around made very bad decisions. Because they thought of the safety the phone could bring if all went wrong.
    Not being mindful that a cell phone does nothing for stupidity.

    How about the human condition we call arrogance. How many boats have sunk from this malady. I can see the same creeping into a designers mind.
     
  5. Mychael
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Melbourne/Victoria/Australia.

    Mychael Mychael

    Look at cars for a moment.. Because they are so "smart" these days with intuitive automatic transmissions, abs, traction control, stability control.. et etc etc.Are drivers better, hell no, they are far worse, relying on the technology to save their sorry arses when they cannot drive and control the vehicle properly.
    I'm all for better and better safety items and equipment as an adjunct to skill but not to replace it.

    Mychael
     
  6. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: BC Summers / Nayarit Winters

    RHough Retro Dude

    That is exactly my point. I think that checking the weather forecast for the area you are sailing in is part of good seamanship. The tools and information to check the forecast up to 7 days out are available to us. Why not take advantage?

    I think there is a combination of speed and awareness that allows a sailor to avoid full blown storms. I'm curious as to what that speed might be. Pressure systems follow somewhat predictable paths, with knowledge of the patterns and good forecasting, it does not appear to be all that difficult to avoid the worst of the weather.

    I'm "sailing" from Hawaii toward Vancouver and right now I'm sailing in 30-35 knot winds and 15 foot seas on a broad reach between the stationary high of the US west coast and one of a series of lows that form and proceed northeast. If I alter my destination to the California coast rather than Vancouver I'll be in better weather. The 30-35 knot winds are scheduled to last about another 12 hours on my route, then I should see wind as low as 6 knots as I skirt the northern edge of the high. A stationary front is creating what the weather forcaster call the "Pineapple Express". If I can pick the systems, it looks like a heavy air broad reach/run for most of the trip. If I blow it, I'll be faced with a week of sailing hard on the wind.

    So far the software is doing just what I want it to.
     
  7. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

  8. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

  9. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 3,644
    Likes: 188, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2247
    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

  10. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    Bloody good link Guillermo :)
     

  11. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

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