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Old 01-03-2008, 02:42   #46
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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.
I too am struggling to understand the dynamics of all this......

The Pardey storm anchor approach seems to be an enhancement of hoving to - which I have tried on previous boats (just for fun / to see what happens / make lunch ) and found it worked great - albeit for me not in any weather where I actually needed to do so. I reckon the slick "works" because water goes for the route of least resistance - but I stand to be corrected!

My thinking is that if hoving to works well in "normal" bad weather, then the Pardey Storm Anchor hoving to approach will work well in "badder" bad weather .......but when (gawd forbid!) in a situation where green waves are breaking over the boat (like surf waves) then my gut tells me I would want the bow directly facing these breaking waves and not to be lying abeam or even having only a fore quarter facing the breaking waves..........even if the price to be paid is the loss of the slick that makes life more comfortable for "normal" waves. (from my attempts at surfing many years ago I am well aware that their is an awful lot of (dynamic?) power in breaking waves - as well as simply a lot of weight!).

Am not planning to test any of this anytime soon
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:27   #47
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Lin and Larry Pardey's technique has worked well for them (and many others) and has, therefore, a great deal to recommend it. That being said, one must also consider the type of boat they have and whether the behavior at sea mirrors (or even approximates) your own.

...
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I agree, this makes a huge difference. Modern light to medium displacement boats with a fin keel and spade rudder don't heave to very well. They often have an annoying tendency to pivot around their keel and present a broaching profile.

Having said that, I was in a survival storm situation (a typhoon, actually) in a full-keeled 28' sloop. The only three techniques I was able to use were:

a) running without a drogue - it worked fine until the seas reached about 25' and were increasingly erratic.

At that point, the fatigue on the helmsman - trying to stay lined up to the main swell - was overwhelming.


b) running with a drogue.

My sense is that this was less about slowing down (i.e., preventing "surfing") and more about keeping your ass to the oncoming swell. In any case, the experience convinced me that a drogue - rigged and ready to deploy -- is a sine qua non for blue water sailing. Whether that drogue should be made by Delta, Galerider, Jordan or whoever, I would leave to the heated discussions at the yacht club bar.


c) After dismasting, lying ahull was the only thing left to do in 30-40' breaking seas and very nasty crosswells.

It's a bit hair-raising, to be sure, and we experienced a couple of really scary knockdowns. Overall, however, it worked better than I would have expected.

I have two observations about lying ahull: Although in my case I had no choice, this isn't a tactic I'd ever *choose* - especially in anything other than a full keel, heavier displacement boat with a really good righting moment (AVS), such as my boat in these conditions.

A lighter displacement fin keeler would have been a bath toy in those conditions, IMHO. Aside from not having the "meat" on the keel to right itself, such a boat's rudder would be extremely vulnerable to being snapped off. A skeg-hung rudder might be fine, but a spade rudder would scare the crap out of me. I was afraid for my rudder the whole time and I'm convinced that the only reason it survived was because it was well hung (as for me, I felt decidedly less-than-well-hung after that experience!)

My other observation is that, as in other situations, it's the breaking seas (and in my case the cyclonically generated cross-swells) that make this technique so treacherous. In the boat I describe in non-breaking seas with a consistent, single, sinusidal (sp?) wave train, you'd probably be Ok.

My experience is limited to a single, really nasty situation: a Category 2 typhoon in the South China Sea, where the choices were limited and obvious -- I had 500 nautical miles between me and a lee shore and running with the storm pointed us to our ultimate destination.
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:23   #48
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The Jordan Series Drogue is one of the ideas that I would want to use in the case of a Typhoon or Hurricane. The Drogue was studied by the Coastguard. It was designed after research on the '79 fastnet race fatalities. But I think that one has to look at their tactics in light of a few consideration including: type of keel, shape and height of waves, amount of wind. I don't have experience in a storm like SNueman but I think that having multiple methods for surviving a storm is the key. Heaving to, running off, series drogue, and using your brain.
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Old 01-03-2008, 14:11   #49
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my gut tells me I would want the bow directly facing these breaking waves and not to be lying abeam or even having only a fore quarter facing the breaking waves.
Directly facing the waves is not a good idea. Even with moderate sized waves you can find your self airborne and falling into the trough. I have done this in my 40 foot fishing vessel and it hurts.
Up the waves at an angle and down the other side the same is the optimum.

sneuman, thanks for your write up. It is helping me decide on my next yacht.
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Old 10-03-2008, 02:51   #50
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I agree, this makes a huge difference. Modern light to medium displacement boats with a fin keel and spade rudder don't heave to very well. They often have an annoying tendency to pivot around their keel and present a broaching profile.

Having said that, I was in a survival storm situation (a typhoon, actually) in a full-keeled 28' sloop. The only three techniques I was able to use were:

a) running without a drogue - it worked fine until the seas reached about 25' and were increasingly erratic.

At that point, the fatigue on the helmsman - trying to stay lined up to the main swell - was overwhelming.


b) running with a drogue.

My sense is that this was less about slowing down (i.e., preventing "surfing") and more about keeping your ass to the oncoming swell. In any case, the experience convinced me that a drogue - rigged and ready to deploy -- is a sine qua non for blue water sailing. Whether that drogue should be made by Delta, Galerider, Jordan or whoever, I would leave to the heated discussions at the yacht club bar.


c) After dismasting, lying ahull was the only thing left to do in 30-40' breaking seas and very nasty crosswells.

It's a bit hair-raising, to be sure, and we experienced a couple of really scary knockdowns. Overall, however, it worked better than I would have expected.

I have two observations about lying ahull: Although in my case I had no choice, this isn't a tactic I'd ever *choose* - especially in anything other than a full keel, heavier displacement boat with a really good righting moment (AVS), such as my boat in these conditions.

A lighter displacement fin keeler would have been a bath toy in those conditions, IMHO. Aside from not having the "meat" on the keel to right itself, such a boat's rudder would be extremely vulnerable to being snapped off. A skeg-hung rudder might be fine, but a spade rudder would scare the crap out of me. I was afraid for my rudder the whole time and I'm convinced that the only reason it survived was because it was well hung (as for me, I felt decidedly less-than-well-hung after that experience!)

My other observation is that, as in other situations, it's the breaking seas (and in my case the cyclonically generated cross-swells) that make this technique so treacherous. In the boat I describe in non-breaking seas with a consistent, single, sinusidal (sp?) wave train, you'd probably be Ok.

My experience is limited to a single, really nasty situation: a Category 2 typhoon in the South China Sea, where the choices were limited and obvious -- I had 500 nautical miles between me and a lee shore and running with the storm pointed us to our ultimate destination.
Time to get back to this thread especially as I see L & L's Storm Tactics is about to released as a third edition (with more data).

Sneuman's post makes interesting reading and makes the point of the different types of seas - in his case, typhoon generated. IMHO I have always considered being caught in a typhoon / hurricane / cyclone as a bit of a lottery. The build up can be sudden, the path difficult to predict, the strength can esculate and the seas very irregular. I would expect to KMAG if caught in a cat 5 cyclone.

From the reading, a southern ocean storm is more manageable although the seas are perhaps much higher. Still, any over-reaching curling breaking sea is be avoided if at all possible.

What is interesting is what we believe we can do and can't do. It would seem that we can actively try to avoid breaking seas by maintaining the control of the boats position and motion e.g. running, steering through the seas etc. al least until exhausted or stop (lie a'hull / hove to) and hope for the best. I think most of us believe we can't alter what is happening outside the boat.

Yet the essence of L & L's published techniques is just that. Changing the nature of the seas immediately to windward of the 'hove to" boat i.e. taming the seas - preventing them from breaking.

I know many of us don't (can't) believe this claim. Is this because we don't understand the mechanics or science of this phenomenon or is it because it is just untrue - just doesn't happen.

Assuming we are willing to believe the distrubance of the surface layer of the water directly prevents the approaching sea from breaking then the critical part (as I see it) is keeping the boat stationary in realtion to the wave train. This is where both the fin keel and para anchor deployed directly off the bow comes in for some criticism. Both are thought to allow the boat to move around too much therefore moving away from this "safety zone" of non-breaking seas.

Again L & L stress the importance of ensuring the fin keel boat is properly balanced in order to hove to and they state most fin keel boat can be coaxed (sp?) into "submission". I suspect we are talking moderate fins here, not extremely narrow fins on flat bottom racers.

They also are quite firm about NOT having the para anchor deployed directly (and only) from the bow. It has to be on a running bridle from the bow and amidships to "anchor" the boat firmly at ~50 degrees to the wave train.

If this is acurate, then we now have another tool in the storm situation - one which allows us SOME CONTROL of the forces OUTSIDE the boat.

Please note this is just my interpretation of their book and I apologise if I am mis-reading it. I also look forward to reading the third edition - should be arriving soon.
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:47   #51
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I too am struggling to understand the dynamics of all this......

The Pardey storm anchor approach seems to be an enhancement of hoving to - which I have tried on previous boats (just for fun / to see what happens / make lunch ) and found it worked great - albeit for me not in any weather where I actually needed to do so. I reckon the slick "works" because water goes for the route of least resistance - but I stand to be corrected!

My thinking is that if hoving to works well in "normal" bad weather, then the Pardey Storm Anchor hoving to approach will work well in "badder" bad weather .......but when (gawd forbid!) in a situation where green waves are breaking over the boat (like surf waves) then my gut tells me I would want the bow directly facing these breaking waves and not to be lying abeam or even having only a fore quarter facing the breaking waves..........even if the price to be paid is the loss of the slick that makes life more comfortable for "normal" waves. (from my attempts at surfing many years ago I am well aware that their is an awful lot of (dynamic?) power in breaking waves - as well as simply a lot of weight!).

Am not planning to test any of this anytime soon
What the Pardeys found was that when hove to with the para anchor, the breakers seemed to collapse onto the slick before they reached the boat and the only thing that hit the boat was foam. IIRC they watched for a long time to see exactly what the big breakers were doing before going below.
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:49   #52
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OK, this is from a non-sailor!

I seem to remember some tests conducted back in the 70's about oil on the water. It was determined to be mainly an illusion. It did affect the surface of the water and cut down on the spray, got rid of the spray and foam, but it did not affect the hieght or power of the waves.

I would suspect something similar in the case of the L & L tactic, although it sounds like this may actually have some actually usable effect. But I'd expect it only helps in marginal situations. If the waves become high enough to break big, I bet this wouldn't change that. In other words, I wouldn't think this tactic would really be something to rely on. It may have an effect, but is it enough to really make a difference in survival?

Again, I am purely taking theory as I have no experience at all.

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Old 10-03-2008, 14:25   #53
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Dan, regardless of the 'slick', deploying a sea-anchor from a bridle off the bow/side deck is still a very effective approach to storm management for many yachts.

Brad
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Old 10-03-2008, 14:35   #54
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The best storm tactic is good weather forecasting and avoidance, with modern forecasting techniques and the ability to receive them on board its just about possible to sail around anything, do you go for the fence at the top of the cliff or the ambulance at the bottom
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Old 10-03-2008, 15:01   #55
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Nauticatarcher, while I agree that it is far better to avoid a storm than to fight it, I'm not sure that I agree with your suggestion that it is possible to sail around virtually anything. Firstly, many storms are not forecast to reach anywhere near the intensity they ultimately develop - Fastnet being only one of many examples.

Secondly, the 48 and 72 hour forecasts will typically cover a very large area indeed. If days away from land, you should be able to sail to what will likely be the safest quadrant of an approaching hurricane, but to avoid it entirely? Some hurricanes produce gale force winds that cover areas that are twice or more than the width of the state of Florida and huge seas to go with it. And storms still have a tendancy to defy the various models that forecasters rely upon.

Hurricane Mitch, for example, made a turn to the south that NO ONE had predicted and then stalled for days in an area that it was not forecast to hit. Anyone who crosses oceans (or makes long bluewater passages) without preparation for the worst is asking for trouble. Yes, you can try to rely upon your radio/weatherfax (Fantom did prior to being lost in Hurricane Mitch, and attempted to find a location that her skipper thought could save both the ship and crew). But if you don't take along a sea anchor and/or series drogue, and if you do not have a liferaft, and if you and your boat are not personally prepared to deal with these possibilities..... you may as well throw yourself off that cliff.

Brad
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Old 10-03-2008, 15:36   #56
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Dan, regardless of the 'slick', deploying a sea-anchor from a bridle off the bow/side deck is still a very effective approach to storm management for many yachts.

Brad
Oh, I'm not argueing with that. I'm only talking about the slick and the claim that it can stop waves from breaking because of the way it disturbs the water.
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Old 10-03-2008, 15:41   #57
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What the Pardeys found was that when hove to with the para anchor, the breakers seemed to collapse onto the slick before they reached the boat and the only thing that hit the boat was foam. IIRC they watched for a long time to see exactly what the big breakers were doing before going below.
It occurs to me that it takes a certain type of person to sit in the middle of a gale and say to themselves "lets try something completely new and untried".

I have been thinking .........could a Para Anchor be deployed from the stern? with the boat then held at the 50 degree angle - it would save having to turn the vessel.......of course would need strong points at the stern!

Anyone want to try it out in a Force 10? (just to satisfy my curiosity )
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Old 10-03-2008, 16:13   #58
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Nauticatarcher, while I agree that it is far better to avoid a storm than to fight it, I'm not sure that I agree with your suggestion that it is possible to sail around virtually anything. Firstly, many storms are not forecast to reach anywhere near the intensity they ultimately develop - Fastnet being only one of many examples.

Secondly, the 48 and 72 hour forecasts will typically cover a very large area indeed. If days away from land, you should be able to sail to what will likely be the safest quadrant of an approaching hurricane, but to avoid it entirely? Some hurricanes produce gale force winds that cover areas that are twice or more than the width of the state of Florida and huge seas to go with it. And storms still have a tendancy to defy the various models that forecasters rely upon.

Hurricane Mitch, for example, made a turn to the south that NO ONE had predicted and then stalled for days in an area that it was not forecast to hit. Anyone who crosses oceans (or makes long bluewater passages) without preparation for the worst is asking for trouble. Yes, you can try to rely upon your radio/weatherfax (Fantom did prior to being lost in Hurricane Mitch, and attempted to find a location that her skipper thought could save both the ship and crew). But if you don't take along a sea anchor and/or series drogue, and if you do not have a liferaft, and if you and your boat are not personally prepared to deal with these possibilities..... you may as well throw yourself off that cliff.

Brad
I agree with you totally, but the saying "right ocean, right time" springs to mind, we carry a para anchor on board and I hope it never sees the light of day. but as I have used one literally hundreds of times as a commercial Fisherman have no fear of getting it out if needed, to go back to my point about avoidance, currently we are sitting in Dunedin, awaiting a new anchor winch motor after cruising Fiordland and Stewart Island and another Yacht that was here left this morning to go North with a Gale Warning an 40Kts with very rough seas forecast, its a different story tomorrow but I'm sure he'll be propping up some bar some where in the future telling stories of the storms he's sailed in, when for the sake of 24hrs it would be a whole different story.
In the last two yrs we have sailed the East Coast of Australia, Circumnavigated Tasmania, crossed the Tasman and now are 2/3rds of the way through our circumnavigation of South Island New Zealand, all this in the Roaring Forties, looking back through our log apart from 1 day mid Tasman we have never had more than 30kts, this is not due to luck but good passage planning and using all weather data available.
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Old 10-03-2008, 16:41   #59
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The best storm tactic is good weather forecasting and avoidance, with modern forecasting techniques and the ability to receive them on board its just about possible to sail around anything, do you go for the fence at the top of the cliff or the ambulance at the bottom
Maybe for coastal cruising, but I strongly disagree that it is "just about possible to sail around anything" offshore, modern technology notwithstanding. Storms often move quickly and unpredictably. What appears as a run-of-the-mill low on the isobaric charts the day you shove off can turn into something really nasty, really soon.

A year or so ago on this forum there was much said in the perennial multi/mono smackdown about multis being safer because they can outrun bad weather. I started a thread specifically to find someone who actually had done this, i.e., outrun a storm, in either a multi or a mono. Interestingly, there were no takers.

Having said that, yes, I ABSOLUTELY agree that avoidance is preferable, but I think it's a fool who believes that's enough. You have to assume that you and the forecasts will not always get it right. Even if I am 90% right (which is probably an exaggeration!) and the forecasts are 90% right, that still leaves an uncomfortable margin of error.
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Old 10-03-2008, 18:21   #60
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I have been thinking .........could a Para Anchor be deployed from the stern? with the boat then held at the 50 degree angle - it would save having to turn the vessel.......of course would need strong points at the stern!
Perhaps, but I can't see any theroretical advantage apart from having to turn into the wind ONCE if you have been running. You would be exposing the stern quarter rather than the bow quarter to the weather and trying to hove with the rudder upwind - ouch. Or am I missing something ...
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