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Old 10-02-2014, 10:18   #16
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Re: What is your weather window?

I am still concerned that so few posts in this thread are focused on wind speed alone. Even when the size of waves is mentioned there has been no consideration of the period or direction, less yet shape.

When the wind is out of the North off South Florida, even a 10-15 knot speed will produce square waves of a short period that closes the weather window for lots of folks.

There are also many harbors or passes through reef or sand bars that become impassable in the wrong wind, wave, and/or current conditions.

Weather windows are a lot more than simply wind speed.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:34   #17
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Re: What is your weather window?

our summer rule was, don't leave port into a gale
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:01   #18
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Re: What is your weather window?

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There is a lot more to a weather window than simply wind speed. The point of sail is also more important as you seem to know.

Living in South Florida hearing folks talk about a weather window to cross to the Bahamas is a weekly discussion. If the wind is out of the North the waves in the Gulf Stream will have a short period and square shape, even if the wind is say 10 knots. On the other hand if it is out of the Southwest a 20 knot wind will often simply mean a fast trip. There is also the issue of getting in and out of any harbor you will be entering/leaving.

All that being said the advice I follow about weather windows is 'I would rather be at anchor and wish I was at sea than be at sea and wish I was at anchor'.
Exactly. I'll head downwind in 25-30. Not upwind though maybe 15 predicted, but again it depends on many things, local condition, wind funnels etc. How long has it been blowing? How long is the fetch? If it's blowing 25 in the Caribe, you can bet it's gusting to 40 in the island gaps... yet in the lee of the island you may not be able to sail at all.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:20   #19
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pirate Re: What is your weather window?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Listen to Boatman - despite his lack of normalcy (sorry boatman - no offense meant) He actually does know what he is talking about (mostly).

I'd put a 3rd reef in if you're really having that much trouble, but a Bene 31 really should be able to handle 25 knots with 2 reefs.
My experience of US made sails has been the 1st reef takes in about a foot of sail.. and the second leaves just under 2/3rds of the main..
way to much for my liking in 25kts and over... but then I'm a bit girly.. don't like tippy tippy..
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:46   #20
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Re: What is your weather window?

1st reef a foot of sail? That sounds like a flattening reef.
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Old 10-02-2014, 17:05   #21
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Re: What is your weather window?

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Listen to Boatman - despite his lack of normalcy (sorry boatman - no offense meant) He actually does know what he is talking about (mostly).

I'd put a 3rd reef in if you're really having that much trouble, but a Bene 31 really should be able to handle 25 knots with 2 reefs.
Yes indeed, even more so as he's single-handed the same waters last year.

Three reefs will have to wait for the next set of sails - otherwise the 'tape' on the 'tape drive' sails would have to be redone for a third reef and I'm not sure if that's even possible.

Was gusting above 25 that day and that was when the fun was happening. Fortunately have a mild weather window predicted for Sunday when I sail back. Even getting a northerly for part of the day, priceless this time of year in WA.
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Old 10-02-2014, 17:10   #22
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Re: What is your weather window?

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Originally Posted by SaltyTanned View Post

What is are favorable conditions for you?
15 to 20 knots close hauled?
15 to 20 knots on a beam reach?
15 to 20 knots on a broad reach?
20 to 25 on a beam reach?
20 to 25 on a broad reach?
Would you sail away in 25 to 30? Or event more?

Of course you expect seas of one to two meters in 15 to 20 knots and 2 to 3 meter in 20 to 25 knots.
I would sail in those conditions assuming the seas are not confused or I know the period is not going to be real short. Those wind speeds are not an issue, it's the waves to be considered.
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Old 10-02-2014, 17:26   #23
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Re: What is your weather window?

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Don't know why but few US sails have a 3rd reef in the main.. over here its standard..
Get a 3rd reef put in your main...
My wife and I were talking about this as we start thinking about a new main.

She went to sailmaking school in the US and said the school recommended a deep second reef rather than a third reef. In our last boat we were talked out of a third reef by another US sailmaker, something I regretted on Lake Superior.

Our current main has three reefs, and we both agree we want three in our next main. We have not used the third yet, but we have exceeded hull speed with the second. Seems nice to the option to reef deeper even if we are too lazy to use it when we should.

What's the thinking for only two reefs?
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Old 10-02-2014, 18:10   #24
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Re: What is your weather window?

I had a third reef put into my main - I rarely use it on Chesapeake Bay since if it blows that hard there is always a viable anchorage within a reasonable distance. But I have always used it on open ocean passages - anything over 25 and I am likely to have all the reefs in
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Old 10-02-2014, 18:34   #25
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Re: What is your weather window?

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Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post

What's the thinking for only two reefs?
I had my new main made when i was in Thailand. It was great to be able to bring in the old main and stretch it out on the floor and work with the designers.
I wanted a deep second reef and not a third reef. So it was good to be able to place it exactly where i wanted it.

I am very pleased with it. Its as flat as a board and feels terrific above 28 knots. Loves being in higher and I feel it can do well 'all the way up'.
At 25 knots it doesnt do much.
So my first reef goes in about 17 knots over the deck, and the second when its averaging about 25 or so.

I would never have a third reef on another sail. Just the extra lines etc would be a pain. Let alone an extra sail change just when you want to brew a cuppa and snuggle down

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Old 10-02-2014, 19:37   #26
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Re: What is your weather window?

There are parts of the world (typically when rounding significant high-latitude capes) where setting off in 20 knots from an unfavourable direction will almost certainly fail, whereas there is virtually no upper limit for a favourable direction, as long as your boat and rig and seamanship are up to it, and you do your tidal current planning really carefully.

This has to be tempered with local knowledge of the characteristics of those wind directions in the weather pattern expected. For instance the opening paragraph has some validity for Puysegur Point when rounding from west to east (salty types would say "eastabout" but I find that confusing)

Whereas going the other way, it would often be foolhardy to set off in expectation of a (favourable) S sector wind of a "mere" 30 knots, unless conditions were unusually settled further south.

It's not an academic question, because weeks can go by during which the wind never reliably drops below 30 knots in that corner of the world.
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Old 10-02-2014, 19:46   #27
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Re: What is your weather window?

I wonder if boats which are easily driven can get by with coarser graduations of sail size, ie fewer reefing positions.

A heavy boat with a full keel and a small rudder can be a nightmare if undercanvassed, and I can think of times when pulling down a deep reef had a boat of this type go from borderline overpressed to wallowing.

On one occasion, sailing north from the subantarctic, the wind started to moderate shortly after putting in such a deep reef, and the groggy watch on deck (at the tail end of a prolonged weather system which had forced us to run off in the wrong direction) failed to factor this in and make sail, preferring instead to wake us with the information that the steering had failed.

Information which, unfortunately, we initially took at face value.
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Old 10-02-2014, 23:48   #28
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Re: What is your weather window?

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A heavy boat with a full keel and a small rudder can be a nightmare if undercanvassed, and I can think of times when pulling down a deep reef had a boat of this type go from borderline overpressed to wallowing.
This has taken me a long time to learn.

Before setting off on our cruise I asked a man who had crossed from the Newfoundland to Ireland in the same boat as ours and subsequently sailed most of the world for words of wisdom. "Press your boat", he said.

I find putting up enough sail when we are being knocked about hard. The times we have been caught with too much sail up (mostly on Lake Superior) still scare me. Luckily my wife usually sees what is going on and calls me on it.

I think I am still a little scared from one of the last races with my Dad as a teenager in Port Moresby when a stay broke.
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Old 10-02-2014, 23:59   #29
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Re: What is your weather window?

Number one Rule>

Never go to sea into a building weather pattern.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyTanned View Post
Often I have met friends at anchorages and asked about their sailing plans. They replied "we are waiting for a weather window". I should mention we are in the Caribbean where I believe you can sail almost any day.

What is are favorable conditions for you?
15 to 20 knots close hauled?
15 to 20 knots on a beam reach?
15 to 20 knots on a broad reach?
20 to 25 on a beam reach?
20 to 25 on a broad reach?
Would you sail away in 25 to 30? Or event more?

Of course you expect seas of one to two meters in 15 to 20 knots and 2 to 3 meter in 20 to 25 knots.

Are you subject to seasickness?
The reason I ask is sailing in say, less than 35 knots, I believe is not dangerous but for some can be uncomfortable. And I wonder for how many sea sickness is the reason?
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Old 11-02-2014, 00:17   #30
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Re: What is your weather window?

Hello Andrew,

Good to see you back.

I cheerfully admit that almost all my sailing experience is in the Baltic. We do not get 10 meter waves here (well - hardly ever). On the other hand, in heavy weather the Skagerrak and Kattegat frequently get 3-4 meter waves. Since the sea is fairly shallow (by ocean standards) the waves tend to be very short and very square, giving a, shall we say, entertaining ride.

Wind, in and of itself, won't damage your boat and can be managed by reefing and then reefing some more.

Our boat takes these waves fairly well, so we don't fret until we get over 35 knots (we've beaten to weather in 40+).

Having said all the above - the best option is to stay in port (at anchor) until the weather subsides to a point where you, and your boat, are comfortable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
There are parts of the world (typically when rounding significant high-latitude capes) where setting off in 20 knots from an unfavourable direction will almost certainly fail, whereas there is virtually no upper limit for a favourable direction, as long as your boat and rig and seamanship are up to it, and you do your tidal current planning really carefully.

This has to be tempered with local knowledge of the characteristics of those wind directions in the weather pattern expected. For instance the opening paragraph has some validity for Puysegur Point when rounding from west to east (salty types would say "eastabout" but I find that confusing)

Whereas going the other way, it would often be foolhardy to set off in expectation of a (favourable) S sector wind of a "mere" 30 knots, unless conditions were unusually settled further south.

It's not an academic question, because weeks can go by during which the wind never reliably drops below 30 knots in that corner of the world.
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