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Old 20-07-2011, 10:08   #1
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Respect ALL Cold Fronts

It was a beautiful, blue-sky June day. I was out of Sag Harbor bound for Nantucket in my boat at the time, a Nonsuch 30. Forecast called for a weak cold front to push south through the area around mid-morning, but no precip was expected. I was on a very broad reach with the wind behind and to port, with full canvas. A long, narrow, and wispy black cloud passed overhead, so thin that it wasn't even visible from a distance. The wind abruptly piped up 20 knots and shifted 180 degrees. The mainsail preventer I'd rigged "prevented" a quick easing of the main, and I was blown down.
Moral: always shorten sail when a cold front is due. Even "weak" ones can be bears.
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Old 20-07-2011, 10:12   #2
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

Welcome to the forum!

For me, the moral would have been to learn to sail without a preventer. A 20--knot shift shouldn't be trouble for a boat like yours, as long as she isn't handcuffed.
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Old 20-07-2011, 10:16   #3
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

Could the preventer be rigged for a quick release from the cockpit?
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Old 29-07-2011, 07:32   #4
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Now there's a good idea cap'n bill. Mine'salways just out of reach and it is always when I'm napin' a bit that I hear that rigging slap a bit. Not a real problem with my 33,000 pounds but it breaks up a nap pretty quickly. Now that it's been brought to my attention again, it's on the list... Again.
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Old 29-07-2011, 09:14   #5
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

I had a "weak" cold front that had winds in excess of hurricane force slam me when sailing out of tampa. it was called the no name storm and sank at least a dozen boats in the bay area. We contacted the coastguard as our mast had been in the water twice and they replied there were boats sunk with people in the water all over and couldnt help us. What a day/night the winds were still in excess of 30 kts the next day
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Old 29-07-2011, 09:24   #6
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

frontal sailing is difficult---prefrontal winds are wonderful to use to sail out of port-- but they die whenye dont want them to die and then they become storms. ouch. storms pack a whollop --lightning storms can ack 71 kts easily.
i am here in mazatlan at present watching the dissipation of a nice early morning tboomer-- the winds are now starting--a post frontal goody...... seems they may get to 25 or so knots--any time there is a front, there will be winds to deal with. even unpredicted ones.
noaa isnt always accurate. i learned that in gom sailing gulf coast. was fun and educational..

i prevent my mizzen with a quick release line i provide for it-- different one each time, and has saved bits of my boat from damage. release it when the breezes are steady and not out of control , release it before tacking, and release it when that lil voice in your brain says to release it. like reefing. my preventer line is at the helm station, right over me.


by the way--- welcome to this forum and have fun and smooth sailing!!!
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Old 29-07-2011, 09:32   #7
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

That may have been the squall line that passed out over Pt. Judith and Block I. a few weeks back. Did a lot of damage on the mainland of RI. I was anchored in New Harbor for that one with my ski goggles on (great to have for this kind of thing), watching for boats breaking loose to windward as the wind blew 50+ in a "whiteout" of wind and rain. Quite the fire-drill. Tow Co. boats really stepped up to the plate, intercepting boats that had slipped anchor. Seeing a squall line develop here in the NE should always be a signal to batten down.. pronto.
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Old 29-07-2011, 09:56   #8
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

keep an eye out for the calm before the storm front--always is one--and signs on horizon of growing seas and winds... helps keep ye safer.....was sailing prefrontals to salsipuedes when they stopped..... the storm came on us after we were safe in ensenada at the dock--brought hail and BIG winds-- glad we went in!!!!
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Old 30-07-2011, 10:09   #9
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

I run my preventer from the boom forward to a snatch block and back to a cleat at the cockpit. Easy to release when you have to or to snug it up when you have to. Sailing without a preventer is a bad plan when conditions call for one.
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Old 30-07-2011, 10:42   #10
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

We need a cold front please send one quickly it's going to 99 deg F today

Our perventor has a quick release and going on deck on a cat is easy to unhook it.
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Old 30-07-2011, 10:44   #11
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

mine is sooo not "snot yot" (approved equipment..LOL)--i have a plain line from bail on mizzen boom thru the hawse for stern cleat and back to mizzen bail--works great and is right where i am. nothing fancy just practical. i use hawse because i broke taffrail with it in 60 kts wind --- came up suddenly when i was sleeping and crew was on watch--we both laughed and kept on sailing.

i found many not just cold fronts provide enough wind to sail a formosa from a dead stop to 8+kts under reefed jib n reefed jigger--so keep your performance cruisers safe and your weather eye open!
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:44   #12
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

Soooo...I was looking up "squall" in the search because we were sailing around the Gulf of Mexico just north of Tampa/Clearwater, 4 miles or so off shore. We've never had this kind of day (yes, we've only had our boat just 2 months now) but the weather wasn't showing anything different than the usual forecast of scattered thunderstorms for this time of year. Well, HOLY COW! We were sailing around in between the squalls. One we outran by sailing south...then we watched as one was coming from over the water directly to our west and moving fast. The wind changed and was coming from all different directions...whitecaps developed, and the horizon waterline color got really dark....and it was growing in size too! We battened down and threw in our anchor in just 10 ft. of water. We did ride out the worst of it and were able to come in afterwards BUT my questions are... How come we were slightly askew to our anchor line and taking waves more broadside because I couldn't get the bow to point right into the wind? And...what can I do to correct that? We have 2 other anchors and found out that neither of those have lines on them, which we will take care of.

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Old 09-08-2011, 12:31   #13
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

Amber -what were your rudder and sails doing? A sailboat usually only obeys the forces acting on it. That said it is common around a thunderstorm to have the wind blow one way and the waves come from another. I bet that is what happened.
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Old 09-08-2011, 13:39   #14
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

Hi Newt!

I think that's what happened as far as the winds to waves breakdown is concerned. Since we're newbie sailors we made some newbie mistakes...which I have now taken more time to learn about. ie: We took down our genoa first..then our mainsail...oops, got that one backwards (although I do know about reefing and it's points on our main) and we went waaaay over to the rails in one good gust. But anyway...we did get to bare poles before the nasty rain and winds really hit. My question about pointing into the waves was mainly because I thought I might be able to "steer" her a little with the tiller handle by way of the current...absolutely pointless. I tried it both to port and starboard and it had really no real effect either way. Like I said earlier...at this point I found out that the stern anchor had no rode...sooo...I don't know if I should tie our tiller into the middle of the cockpit...I'm thinking about buying a drogue although I didn't really understand the reason to have one until now. But, we bought this boat to learn on and that's exactly what we're doing. Rather make mistakes now on our learning boat than to get the big one and really mess up. It was pretty scary to us though...I'm sure all you experienced sailors would chuckle inside if you could have seen us. Just slightly panicked.
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Old 09-08-2011, 14:05   #15
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Re: Respect ALL Cold Fronts

A lesson learned the hard way, but safely as no one got hurt. You must always anticipate the weather and be ready to act before things get out of hand. Glad to see no one or anything was lost or broken. Isn't it FUN to be a SAILOR!!!
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