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Old 19-02-2008, 20:10   #31
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L & L's book is sitting right in front of me. My friend gave it to me, and I started reading it yesterday. What I liked most was that it not only solidified in me that "yes, being hove to works in anything that the ocean can throw at you [perhaps with a sea anchor to assist]", but it also addresses why people don't do it as much any more.

To be honest, I think this is another reason that "bluewater" boats tend to have full-ish keels. If there's a slam dunk storm tactic that only works well with big keels, you really should be justifying in your head why you have a fin.

The other thing that I agree with is the reason why people don't heave to at the right time: bad seamanship. You start by running off, which tricks you into thinking the wind isn't as fast, because you're probably scrubbing 8kt+ off your apparent. That's a sizeable amount of wind.

So there you are, on a run, with 30 knots apparent, and *then* you decide to heave to? You're going to come about into 38 knots of wind and get slammed into the water. And if you're on a bare poles run, it's going to be even trickier.

Heavy Weather Sailing shows that there are a variety of ways to survive a storm. There are different tactics for different types of boats, and different types of crews.

But for my money, I sleep well knowing that with a big keel the only thing I need to work on is my seamanship and maybe a $50 parachute.
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Old 19-02-2008, 21:12   #32
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But for my money, I sleep well knowing that with a big keel the only thing I need to work on is my seamanship and maybe a $50 parachute.
Hello RH, good to see you survived the "THUD", why don't you let us know what happened rather than reading L & L's book .

BTW the their DVD is pretty good also.
Not sure if you can get a $50 quality parachute that will be strong enough for a para-anchor. I know that L & L talk about BOURD surplus but I haven't been able to source anything like that in Aussie. Let me know if you can get one in good old USA - I might want to buy it off you .

I understand that the full keel is not essential for this tactic to work but it probably won't work with a really narrow fin keel.

Irwinsailor - good to hear another first hand experience of the "slick"; thats two now. I know that 40 knots and 12 ft seas are not massive but from that experience, would you now plan to use this tactic in worse conditions or not. I am assuming you were just hove to, no para anchor deployed.
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Old 19-02-2008, 21:15   #33
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In regards to the parachute pricing, I've seen a few for around $50 or so at our marine swap meets around here, but I'd need to really investigate them to determine quality.

I answered the thud thread! (finally!)

Isn't the entire reason for using the sea anchor when hove-to to keep the bow 50 degrees off the wind? It seems like the trough / crest wind differential is what causes the hove-to position to fall apart, since it's two different winds at that point. They make a reference of that in the idea that bigger ships would heave to with their topsails, to negate the trough / crest situation.
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Old 20-02-2008, 06:25   #34
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Isn't the entire reason for using the sea anchor when hove-to to keep the bow 50 degrees off the wind? It seems like the trough / crest wind differential is what causes the hove-to position to fall apart, since it's two different winds at that point.
I understood the main purpose of the sea anchor was to prevent the boat fore-reaching while hove to and thus sailing out of the slick. The sea anchor also creates its own turbulence adding to the slick even further to windward.

Everytime I re-read Storm Tactics I find new information. It is cramed with sensible data and argument. IMHO.
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Old 20-02-2008, 12:44   #35
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The other thing that I agree with is the reason why people don't heave to at the right time: bad seamanship. You start by running off, which tricks you into thinking the wind isn't as fast, because you're probably scrubbing 8kt+ off your apparent. That's a sizeable amount of wind.

Been there, done that with winds that went from 30 to 50 before I really noticed it.

So there you are, on a run, with 30 knots apparent, and *then* you decide to heave to? You're going to come about into 38 knots of wind and get slammed into the water. And if you're on a bare poles run, it's going to be even trickier.


That depends on the boat and how much canvas is up. I had to come about in 60 knots of breeze with the Staysail and a single reefed Main once. I had to sheet out the Main completely and let it flog till we got around but we did get around. Needless to say, it was a VERY quick turn.

It's all about the boat and the seamanship.
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Old 20-02-2008, 13:01   #36
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L & L's book is sitting right in front of me. My friend gave it to me, and I started reading it yesterday. What I liked most was that it not only solidified in me that "yes, being hove to works in anything that the ocean can throw at you [perhaps with a sea anchor to assist]", but it also addresses why people don't do it as much any more.

To be honest, I think this is another reason that "bluewater" boats tend to have full-ish keels. If there's a slam dunk storm tactic that only works well with big keels, you really should be justifying in your head why you have a fin.

The other thing that I agree with is the reason why people don't heave to at the right time: bad seamanship. You start by running off, which tricks you into thinking the wind isn't as fast, because you're probably scrubbing 8kt+ off your apparent. That's a sizeable amount of wind.

So there you are, on a run, with 30 knots apparent, and *then* you decide to heave to? You're going to come about into 38 knots of wind and get slammed into the water. And if you're on a bare poles run, it's going to be even trickier.

Heavy Weather Sailing shows that there are a variety of ways to survive a storm. There are different tactics for different types of boats, and different types of crews.

But for my money, I sleep well knowing that with a big keel the only thing I need to work on is my seamanship and maybe a $50 parachute.
I think this is a pretty good analysis of heaving to.

I also agree with RebelHeart on the full keel idea. If you've got a fin (or modified fin like I had on my last boat), you stand more of a chance of tripping over that fin as you slide sideways down the breaking waves. In any case, it's going to push your rail way down toward the water as you fly sideways down a wave.

Take away the draft, and you end up more able to just slip down the faces sideways without tripping, staying mostly upright.

Well put.
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Old 23-02-2008, 13:44   #37
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David M, Ramona gives one valid reason for the series-drogue, but there are many others:

Secondly, the boat still maintains some forward motion and hence (as when you are sailing downwind) the apparent speed of the wave and wind from behind is lessened.

Thirdly, with a series - drogue, the drag remains essentially constant as the cones are deployed throughout the length of the rode. In sea-anchors, there have been numerous cases of the chute collapsing in an incoming wave: in such a case, the rode goes temporarily slack and then suddenly re-fills, causing a huge snap and extreme forces on the rode and the attachment points on the yacht. This can tear hardware out of the deck; the chafe can also cause the rode, the bridle or even the chute to break. Richard Woods felt forced to abandon his cat a couple of years ago in precisely these circumstances. Yes, there have been opinions expressed that he had not let out sufficient rode, but some would suggest that this only highlights a further difficulty with sea-anchors: they are much more difficult to deploy (and retrieve) and may require adjustments to ensure that the sea-anchor is on the same relative position on the wave train as the boat. In extremely high waves, if the boat is situated on a crest while the sea-anchor is below the trough, there will be a tendancy to pull the anchor up towards the surface as well as back, making it more vulnerable to the effect of breaking seas.

Fourthly, temporary slack in the rode can also allow the boat to yaw and take the brunt of the waves beam-on.

Fifthly, there is a natural tendancy for a boat to maintain a more straight heading if it is moving forward with some drag behind. This is the direction that boats (and arrows) are designed to travel in.

Sixthly, it is much easier and safer to deploy a series-drogue as it can merely dumped out from the relative safety of the cockpit, rather than from the bow(s).

Seventhly, the USCG conducted tests of Jordan's design a number of years ago and found them more effective in breaking seas than a sea-anchor.

Eighthly, it is comforting to know that Jordan made his design available free of charge to hundreds of people/sailmakers worldwide; his original intention, the original test by the USCG and the testimonials are not merely sales hype by a manufacturer.

Having said all of that, there is more than a nugget of truth in your expressed concern about breaking waves into the cockpit of a multihull. While the stern of a modern cat should contain sufficient bouyancy to rise with even large oncoming waves, breaking seas are a different phenomenon. Cats tend to have huge cockpits and some have a step down into the bridgedeck accomodation that would no doubt allow entry of water before the cockpit drains could even begin to deal with the situation.

For precisely this reason I have purchased both a series-drogue and a para-anchor. While it is my fervent hope that I will never require either, I see the first line of defence as being the series-drogue. Although the manufacturer suggests deploying the entire length and then going below and forgetting about it, I would initially deploy a shorter length with the intention only of slowing the boats progress and increasing lateral stability. If helming became impossible (or too tiring) I would prepare the sea-anchor for deployment and then pay-out the entire series-drogue and basically 'see what happens'. If, as Jordan and others claim, the boat slows to about 1 1/2 knots and is able to take even breaking seas without difficulty, I would indeed go below and ride it out. If, on the other hand, the cockpit was getting overwhelmed by breaking seas, I would release the series-drogue and deploy the sea-anchor from a bridle off the bows.

I suspect that a monohull with a high bridgedeck, solid companionway doors and adequate cockpit drainage would do well (in fact much better) with a series drogue than with a para-anchor. I also suspect that the same would be true in cats with no cockpit wells and with an open rear bridgedeck (or alternatively, with slats under the cockpit area). I am less than confident about how my particular cat would survive in those conditions as I have a distinct cockpit well that is (partly) fenced in by a raised deck to accomodate the aft athwartships double berths.

In the end result, what works for some may not work for others. Boats differ, as do storms. What works for a ship or supply vessel will likely have little application to a small sailing yacht. What works for a Westsail 32 (lying ahull - the Westsail 32 in 'The Perfect Storm' was actually found upright and intact several days after the rescue of the crew) may not work for a comparatively light fin-keeler or multihull. Indeed, as I have already suggested, what works for one cruising cat may not work for another.

I suspect that there are variable answers for tactics in coping with extreme conditions, precisely because there is no single 'correct' answer. That, of course, is disquieting. We would all prefer that there be a single right way to deal with a situation. We can (and should) read about the experiences of others; but ultimately, as with virtually everything to do with the sailing and navigation of a vessel under our command, we have the responsibility to adjust to varying conditions as they arise. Develop a plan, but keep an open mind. And equip and prepare your boat for the possibility that your designated first line of defence may fail.

Brad
Like you I have a series drogue and a para anchor. Unlike you, I'd deploy the whole drogue once I made the decision to deploy it .If the series drogue wasn't working due to sea state I don't think I'd consider attempting to turn across breaking seas to turn into sea to deploy a sea anchor. What would I do, I don't know sitting here. If the boat is being overwhelmed perhaps speed it up somehow.
I think it's correct that Richard Woods didn't have enough rode, I also think (if we're talking about the incident off South America) that reading between the lines he was influenced in his decision to abandon ship by his crew. That's very easy to say sitting here, so it's not a criticism, but I think when the offer of 'rescue' was made there were other factors at work..... not saying that I would have sat it out either.
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Old 23-02-2008, 14:51   #38
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...
I also agree with RebelHeart on the full keel idea. If you've got a fin (or modified fin like I had on my last boat), you stand more of a chance of tripping over that fin as you slide sideways down the breaking waves. In any case, it's going to push your rail way down toward the water as you fly sideways down a wave.

Take away the draft, and you end up more able to just slip down the faces sideways without tripping, staying mostly upright.
....
I can't see how this could be accurate. A typical fin keel boat will have much less wetted area than full keel boat. It is the wetted area that produces the drag going sideways. The fins make much of their lift from their shape going through the water. If the boat is going sideways, then the fin will not add lift. It seems like the order of 'tripping over' while being pushed sideways would be (least to most) multi-hull, fin-keel, full keel.

Paul L
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Old 24-02-2008, 00:50   #39
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Troutbridge, you make a good point about the difficulty in coming about if the cockpit is being overwhelmed by breaking waves while streaming your series-drogue. And while I am certainly hoping that this is never necessary, I could forsee a situation where it would be. One would have to time their maneuver and have both engines running hard, but to the extent that there are some proponents of lying-ahull in cats, they should be able to safely come about even in dreadful conditions. Indeed, as we know Richard Woods boat, despite being only 32 feet overall, survived after he was rescued and one would imagine it was taking seas off the beam much of the time.

Another option, as you mention, is retrieving some of the series drogue in order to increase speed and lessen the impact of the waves. In order to avoid the impact of breaking seas, I suspect that this would require accelerating the boat significantly and hence, the drogue would no longer be a 'passive' defence, but one requiring constant attention to the helm.

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Old 24-02-2008, 02:41   #40
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One thing that always seems to be missing in the debate as to which device to employ, parra or drouge, is the position of the vessel in relation to the storm. If I was in the quadrant where running off would follow the track of the storm then I would use the anchor. Conversly if in the other quadrants then running off would shorten the dance with the devil so thats the way I would go.
Searoom may alter the decision however.

Mike
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Old 24-02-2008, 07:09   #41
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Mike, I would agree that trying to be in the correct quandrant of a storm as it approaches is extremely important. This is imprecise, of course, as storms rarely stay to a constant or predicted course. Furthermore, the required direction of travel (typically to the west in the northern hemishpere, east in the southern) might cause you to head towards shore, reducing available searoom and putting you over a shoaling (or at least shallowing) bottom: this would only worsen your prospects once the storm hits. If you have the sea room, then by all means you should sail away from the most lethal part of the storm.

Having said that, once you are in the storm and are at or approaching survival conditions (what we are talking about here), running off will require constant attention to the helm and increase the risk of pitchpoling.

There are many proponents of high-speed scudding, or running with a storm - Dumas and Moitessier being perhaps the first to write about it in the context of a yacht. Due to the requirement for constant and fastidious attention to the helm, Vigor recommends this tactic only if your boat is being overwhelmed streaming drogues, or setting to a sea-anchor. Indeed, even Moitessier attempted the technique only after he had deployed drogues and found that (eventually) the cockpit was being repeatedly barraged by breaking seas. We must also remember that he was obviously in the wrong quadrant as he remained with the storm for a couple of days - an awfully long time for a short-handed crew, even in good conditions.

So yes, scudding makes sense if you are in the correct quadrant, have searoom and adequate rested and capable crew. On the other hand, there is good sense in attempting a passive tactic as a first line of defence. This will allow the crew an opportunity to adjust to the violent motion, sounds and yes fear while maintaining their strength should scudding become necessary.

Brad
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Old 24-02-2008, 07:39   #42
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I can't see how this could be accurate. A typical fin keel boat will have much less wetted area than full keel boat. It is the wetted area that produces the drag going sideways. The fins make much of their lift from their shape going through the water. If the boat is going sideways, then the fin will not add lift. It seems like the order of 'tripping over' while being pushed sideways would be (least to most) multi-hull, fin-keel, full keel.

Paul L
Hi Paul.

I'll try to explain the way I (and I think rebel heart too) are seeing it. By no means have I "been there" and "done that" on any of these boat types you listed in order of trip-ability, so it's only theory. I have not been in conditions sufficient to warrant the use of sea anchors or drogues in any of the 3 types mentioned.

Envision the 3 types of boats, sliding sideways down a wave (hopefully you are in control and using drogues and sea anchors instead!!).

Now, if you first picture the catamaran with boards up and rudders too, if possible, you have a very flat hull shape that will slide down beam-on waves almost as well as it would going down them bow first. It's basically skipping like a stone, right?

Now push the down-wave centerboard down on the cat, while she is skidding sideways down a wave. (if taking a wave from port and skidding down the wave in a starboard direction, lower the starboard centerboard). What happens? The way I see it, is the area presented to the water in the form of the newly lowered centerboard serves to slow the boat's motion, but in doing so, creates more rotational forces that bury the starboard hull and cause the port hull to lift (given sufficient wave heights and steepness). Would you agree with that? In the cast of the cat, it's pretty catastrophic. It would be a bad error in cat handling.

Let's move onto the full keel boat. The full keel is typically running the length of the boat, but draws a comparatively small amount of water, right?

Now if you picture this hull shape sliding down the wave in the same way the cat did from our last example (save wave orientation, same slide direction, everything the same except the hull shape), what you have is a boat lying to its side due to the "centerboard" or in this case keel, dragging through the water. At its maximum angle of heel due to water pushing on the full keel, the boat will rotate to its starboard side until such a time as the full keel is up out of the water enough to not produce any more of the force that is rotating the boat to starboard in this slide. This angle of heel will be relative to how deep the keel is, because as you rotat the boat to starboard, you will present less and less keel to the oncoming "apparent current" that is pushing on the keel, and tipping you starboard. Kind of like when a boat heels a lot in a puff of wind, and the force produced by the wind is lessened due to that heel. Would you agree so far?

Now let's move onto the fin keel. Put that hull shape in the same situation. What happens? The same thing as with the full keel boat. The boat lists to starboard until the rotation is sufficient enough to be presenting none of the keel to the "apparent current" (which is induced by the boat skidding down the wave). So, if a full keel boat draws 3 ft, an angle will be set up which rotates the boat until that 3' is not directly in the current induced by sliding down the wave broadside. Same thing happens in the fin keel boat. It rotates until the keel isn't presenting its area to the induced current, right? Well, if the keel is 6' or 8' or something like that, the boat will have to roll a lot further starboard in order to achieve the balance of skidding its way peacefully down the wave broadside while presenting no keel area (or little keel area) to the current induced by the starboard slide.

So what I'm saying is that the fact that a fin keel is longer (has more draft) than a full keel, means that the boat will have to rotate starboard to a greater degree, futher increasing the risk that the boat will trip on its rail and result in a complete knockdown. All theory, but I'm not sure who of us has been out there to test it??
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Old 24-02-2008, 08:09   #43
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PS: I am envisioning that the boat might be "side surfing" rather than just pleasantly drifting down the face of the wave in the above post. This is why the area presented by the keel would become more important than wetted area in this example.
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Old 24-02-2008, 19:53   #44
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To avoid the problem of what to do if the drogue is in adequate fro the conditions, have a boat that is set up for having the parachute from the rear,
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Old 29-02-2008, 20:28   #45
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Paul L & Ssullivan,
I am not sure I can agree with the explanations of what causes a problem with storm created waves. I think we have to distinguish between what happens when a boat is safely hove to and when it is in danger of capsize / broaching / pitch poling etc.
Again I am only considering mono's (because I dont know anything about multi's).

Hove to (with or without para anchor set): From my understanding of the Pardey's Storm Tactics, the keel is ~ 50 degrees off the wind (and waves) due to being hove to. The water is then flowing sideways around the keel. This causes turbulence to the surface layers of the water in the wave system. As the boat is pushed sideways downwind, the disturbance appears to move to windard (but really is stationary). Before it dissipates, it has sufficent affect on the approaching wave to modify surface flows in the wave to prevent it breaking dangerously. This is the slick they refer to and how it prevents the crest of the approaching sea from breaking in the vinicity of the boat. The reason the keel shape is considered is because different keel shapes will affect how stationary the boat remains relative approaching seas. The boat must stay directly downwind of this slick and not fore reach out of this protective area. A full keel will remain more stationary then a fin keel but most fin keels should be able to be kept stationary with a bit more effort in considering sail area, sail position and tiller position. The para anchor when set off a bridle and kept directly upwind while the boat maintains ~50 off the wind helps to hold the boat stationary w.r.t. the slick. It also creates some disturbance to the surface layers itself and thus assists in modifying the wave crests even further upwind.
BTW this won't happen if a para anchor is set directly from the bow. The para anchor will try to pull the boat out of the hove to position thus will present its keel directly into the wave system and not create any turbulence. A fin keel boat will still sail around a bit and be exposed to breaking seas on its fore quater or even its beam - not good.

However very different things happen if there is no "protection" from this slick. As I understand storm conditions, the danger comes from large breaking seas overpowering the boat. Not the type of breaking crests where the water is simply flowing down the front of the wave like a giant white cap. Rather large curling or overreaching seas more like large surf breaking on a shoaling shore. These breaking seas will typically fall onto the lee side of the boat (hove to - out of the slick - or lying ahull). The boat is damaged with tons of water falling onto it. The wind has the boat already heeled, the lee deck is pushed further under by the breaking sea, the circular motion of the surface layer of the wave is pushing the keel up to windward and the boat is at least knocked down if not rolled right over. From my reading, most damage occurs to the lee side of the boat.
Slighty different mechanics occur if broaching but the end result remains the same. Again different mechanics with pitch poling and even worse outcomes.

The above is simply my limited undertsanding of the dymanics of the seas and mono's in storm conditions concluded from reading every account I can of the same and some rather limited sea time in winds over 40 kts. I am very happy to consider other explanations and to be proved wrong in any of my assumptions.
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