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Old 17-12-2010, 07:08   #1
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Second Thoughts During a Storm

This board has been mostly accenting the positives of sailing, (passagemaking). Cruising to exotic locations and sipping rum punch under a coconut palm, while watching "baywatch" beauties play in the surf.

But there is another side to sailing, first you have to get there. Recently someone posted they were thinking of crossing in marginal weather. Fortunately they decided to cross early and missed the worst of it. But what of those time the weather turned nasty too late to turn back.
During the winter we are repeatedly hit by cold fronts approx a week apart. During the late summer we are hit by tropical storms about the same frequency. Sooo a sailboat on the same latitude should be experiencing about the same thing only with no land around? Is there ever a "good" time to cross, I.E. calm seas and steady winds? Or do you pretty much plan on a week of nice followed by a few days of hammered?

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Old 17-12-2010, 07:26   #2
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Very few areas are 'predictable' and sometimes not even those... Pilot Atlas's will give you averages over sq'd areas of gales n max waves but there are no garauntees.... you can do a passage one year in June and have a dream crossing... next June nothing but gales and the one after that full of calms or head winds...
All you can really do is work to 'safe seasons' for each area of the Planet...
and once your more than 100 miles offshore anything can happen from then on...
Just take the normal precations.. don't leave loose stuff lying around, stow away after use... have a couple of berths set up to laze in securely in a blow..
Then when it comes.. don't sit up there fighting it unless you have to... reef down, heave to, go below and relax with your Kindle... its usually over in a few hours and you can continue on your way... the beauty of heaving to is your still making ground in the general direction you'd like to go or.. holding steady..
Break out the hot drinks n snacks
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Old 17-12-2010, 07:27   #3
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In 30 or so years...... the hammering far exceeded the good ones... BUT that said, I was mostly working on those. Had they been pleasure cruises, I would have picked my time to change the balance.
Any fool with a big enough checkbook can BUY a boat; it takes a SPECIAL type of fool to build his own! -Capngeo
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Old 17-12-2010, 07:36   #4
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You do the best you can and keep your fingers crossed. Our philosophy has always been, expect the best and plan for the worst. In 20 years of cruising Sea Trek we have had our share of bad weather. She has lived through 15 named storms, 12 of those hurricanes. We have had a great 3 day window to the Bahamas slam shut on us in less than 24 hours and that was the closest we ever came to losing the boat. But those are the dues we pay for the lifestyle. In driving to the office this morning, a part of not cruising I am not fond of, we came withing inches of 2,000 pound hunks of metal traveling all around us at 60, 70, 80 miles per hour. That scares the hell out of me much more than a full gale at sea. So there is risk everywhere in everything we do in this modern world. The only way to avoid it altogether is to move into a cave. Maybe, after we are finished cruising. Chuck
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

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