My experience is racing
very light boats, sailing a heavy one (our own), and sailing for money
on mostly biggish middle of the roads. So pick up whatever may suit you.
Here I will talk about heavy weather sailing. Not inshore gales, not odd gusts, but proper fully blown up weather systems with associated wave action, rain and the level of crew fatigue that develops before any mickey mouse system builds up to a real bad bastard.
As per your post:
a. A lot of the info out there is for older, heaver, boats.
> Your boat is quoted at 7.6 light ship, not much ballast % but if it is in the bulb, it is fine enough with me. Older boats were some lighter some heavier than yours.
b. When you start talking about modern cruising yachts a lot of people seem to shrug and tell you that you shouldn't be out in an ocean in one.
> Disregard them. Most boats plying oceans today are more or less like yours. Get ARC
lists see for yourself.
c. Well as a lot of are out there I was wondering if anyone has any tips on what works and what doesn't when it comes to a modern boat.
> Many what you called modern boats do not lay hove too as well as some older designs did. They may tend to get blown off and expose their beam to the seas. This is, in my book, bad.
d. Heaving to? Running? Sea anchor
out the front?
NO, YES, no.
But a sea anchor
off the bow may be your last line of defense. If the boat gets damaged. Or if the crew gets completely exhausted. Carry a BIG ONE.
If you can't run, try slow beating in place of heaving to. (Remember I am talking real bad weather here). Third reef main and a blade storm jib
, on an inner stay.
e. I know a lot depends on the sea state and every boat is different but are there some ideas out there of where to start if you ever get caught?
> Yes: 1) be wx aware, 2) keep the crew rested at all times, 3) start preparing before the system hits you, 3) decide on which technique will be used up first, and which will be used if things get even worse, 4) batten down, 5) watch the boat and the seas and act accordingly, 6) monitor
crew condition and keep them rested at max (of what is possible given the conditions). Sleep and hot food
are the essentials. As is your leadership and your cool.
> Get the HQ'est, strongest, smartest AP you can. Learn how to fine tune it.
d. Why are all hatches on boats watertight (good) but the main companionway
hatch isn't (bad)?
> Because an idiot designer
drew it and an idiot boat builder
built it. Then an idiot salesperson sold it. If it looks not safe, rebuild
it. 100% watertightness and 100% bombshellproofness are a must in heavy weather. Look at Mini, Class 40, IMOCA, Figaro etc. companionways. Try to get as close to their storm preparedness level as practicable.
e. If the boat gets rolled a worry with beamy boats is that they might not roll back. Wouldn't it then sink? I've always wondered where the largest hole in the boat isn't watertight.
A beamy boat with low cabin
may remain inverted for time. Some narrow boats may return sooner. Yours has tall topsides, this is a plus if you get inverted. Your cabin
top is low and small volume, this is a minus.
Generally they all do anyways, except for some odd / bad designs. If you hatches and ALL OTHER openings are not 100 watertight WHEN INVERTED, the interior
will be flooded which makes return more difficult. And when she does return, you interior will be a wet, cold, dark horrible heart of darkness with cold water
sloshing one foot or higher above the floors (you have no bilges like some older heavier boats). Most systems will be down. Electric bilge
pumps may not work. Your mental state will be a great unknown. All you will want will be to get to the right button and then hopefully on to the helicopter. You can read all about this online.
So, in a word, try not to get inverted. Avoid being beam on to any large seas that may or will break.
My advice is then:
- when sea room available: RUN,
- if running too fast: tow a drogue,
- if no sea room: fore reach at tight angle,
- if damaged or completely exhausted, deploy a big sea anchor
- you can use a blade jib
and the motor
to fore reach, as long as you have fuel
I think close fore reaching at limited speed is safer than being hove to.
I think being hove to in real bad sea state is asking for trouble. The smaller and lighter the boat, the bigger the risk.
Prefer active approaches over passive ones. Bad things happen (more often) when we think 'she will take care of herself and her crew'. Most of the time, she does not. Planes too fly very poorly when the pilot lets the controls and turns in for a nap.
This is only my perspective and my experience is very limited. Listen to everybody who did sail in bad weather then make your own plan that fits your boat and your mental constitution.
Visualise and test-ride as much as you can. A winter storm in the Med is your sparring partner. Do not quote me on this one though.