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Old 09-02-2014, 18:12   #1
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What is your weather window?

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 09-02-2014, 18:56   #2
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Re: What is your weather window?

I didnt go to St barts last week because it said 17 to 20 knots. But I know it right into the wind and current and theres wind compression zones, and over 15 knots on gribs I add 5 knots. Plus my boat speed i would have been pushing into 30'knots.

All that does is put gear on the line, and makes for a harder day sailing than what i like.

So I wait for wind speeds that will let me sail without a reef. Otherwise I just stay in this part of paradise for another few days... Or weeks, who cares?
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Old 09-02-2014, 19:15   #3
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Re: What is your weather window?

Well yes it was marginal Mark. But you would have sailed if you needed to be there. It was not dangerous. Maybe a little hard on the gear though.

I am seeing folks stay in the same dull harbour for months when conditions of 15 to 20 are forecast. They wait for 5 to 10 and motor to destination. Why have a sailboat. Why put up with all the sailing gear? And we are looking at... well in French it is called "close hauled well filled". In other words an easy close hauled or "thin reach".

When the sea is 3 meters I understand. When it's less than two meters I wonder. If you motor everywhere why not have a trawler? You understand I am sure. There is a lot of fun in sailing even and probably more so, when skill is required. If not why bother?
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Old 09-02-2014, 19:38   #4
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Re: What is your weather window?

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'.
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Old 09-02-2014, 19:43   #5
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Re: What is your weather window?

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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'.

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Old 09-02-2014, 19:53   #6
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Re: What is your weather window?

um, sailing across Cook Strait in NZ, we'd take the kids and go on a friday night if it was 35 Knots or less. From Mana where we were, it's normally a reach, sometimes a tight reach.
Other places, up to 35 Knots is fine aft of the beam, now I'm older and perhaps wiser?
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:26   #7
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Re: What is your weather window?

This topic is of interest to me as I am slowly gaining confidence going out in stronger wind and swell. Around here, afternoon windows are often in the 20 - 30 knot range, so aiming for the 10 - 15 knot window puts a lot of restriction on when I can sail. But gusts can go substantially above the prevailing wind speed and my boat is quite difficult in 25 knots - there is no third reef and even going on a broad reach quite a tendency to round up. Gets quickly tiring so the thought of going further than a day sail is putting me off.

How do people who sail around the world and have to contend with gales manage it? What kind of boats are best suited to gale conditions, even on a close reach? Something I'm missing?
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:10   #8
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Re: What is your weather window?

Usually If i have somewhere to go, anything that takes me there without tacking. Gettng there fast is good, so is a lazy sail where you dont have to go handhold to handhold to get around the boat.
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:21   #9
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Re: What is your weather window?

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Originally Posted by RigelKent View Post
This topic is of interest to me as I am slowly gaining confidence going out in stronger wind and swell. Around here, afternoon windows are often in the 20 - 30 knot range, so aiming for the 10 - 15 knot window puts a lot of restriction on when I can sail. But gusts can go substantially above the prevailing wind speed and my boat is quite difficult in 25 knots - there is no third reef and even going on a broad reach quite a tendency to round up. Gets quickly tiring so the thought of going further than a day sail is putting me off.

How do people who sail around the world and have to contend with gales manage it? What kind of boats are best suited to gale conditions, even on a close reach? Something I'm missing?
I'm surprised you're having difficulties in 25 knots with a a Bene 31. She would sail just fine in that, if you're reefed. How big is your genua? Have you reefed that in also?

You really should look to your sail plan - something is just not right. I sail in the Baltic, and if I waited until the wind was under 15 knots, I'd never get anywhere. We routinely sail in 25-30. Admittedly, above 35 life gets tougher, but if we reef far enough, it's just a nice sail.

Re: what kind of boats are best for gales conditions LOL you'll get just about as many opinions on that as there are posters on this forum LOL.

Almost any boat will cope with a gale, assuming the skipper knows what he(she) is doing.
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:27   #10
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pirate Re: What is your weather window?

For me a 'Weather Window' is fine weather and favourable winds for at least the 1st 3 days.. for example SMX - Azores my window would be winds ESE-SE 10-25 and sunny.. my no no would be ENE-E.. 20-30... rain squalls
Usually the boats an unknown quality so like to start a long run and my 'Getting to know you' in comfortable weather and sea's.. best time to find the limits to stay within.. theres 2300 miles to go..
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:29   #11
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Re: What is your weather window?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RigelKent View Post

How do people who sail around the world and have to contend with gales manage it? What kind of boats are best suited to gale conditions, even on a close reach? Something I'm missing?
Gales are very rare if you sail in the correct season in most cruising areas and in a tropical circumnavigation.

There are squalls but they dont last long, and a gale, in the right season will only last a few hours.
The four day type gales are only in the wrong season.

This is why i say i can wait till theres the right weather. Right weather in the right season.

And then combine a circumnavigation with the cirrect season and you are not often forced to go upwind into strong winds.... The Red Sea is one location where its 1,000 to windward, but if you do it early in the season the wind isnt so bad.
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:45   #12
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Re: What is your weather window?

We just sailed along the Venezuelan and Columbian coast from Aruba to Panama, we were looking for 25-30 knots and 8-10 ft seas...It keeps the pirate pangas in port.

But that was off the wind and it was a very pleasant trip. Three reefs in the main and a staysail and we did see gusts up to 40 knots.
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:13   #13
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Re: What is your weather window?

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...How big is your genua? Have you reefed that in also?
You really should look to your sail plan - something is just not right....
Thanks - that's exactly the kind of input I was looking for.

It's fractional rig - 9:10 - with a 100% gennoa on a furler. I have the shoal draft keel, single rudder. I'm not sure about the mainsail size - the previous owner replace the sails with UK Halsey tape drive. The main might be oversized? What is standard for a 311? I can check the UK Halsey dealer here he'll know the size of the main he sold the PO.
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:22   #14
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pirate Re: What is your weather window?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RigelKent View Post
Thanks - that's exactly the kind of input I was looking for.

It's fractional rig - 9:10 - with a 100% gennoa on a furler. I have the shoal draft keel, single rudder. I'm not sure about the mainsail size - the previous owner replace the sails with UK Halsey tape drive. The main might be oversized? What is standard for a 311? I can check the UK Halsey dealer here he'll know the size of the main he sold the PO.
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... once your winds going over 25kts you should be deep reefed and using the Genoa for drive.. furled to the right size for balance obviously... they're not the stiffest of boats..
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:02   #15
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Re: What is your weather window?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RigelKent View Post
Thanks - that's exactly the kind of input I was looking for.

It's fractional rig - 9:10 - with a 100% gennoa on a furler. I have the shoal draft keel, single rudder. I'm not sure about the mainsail size - the previous owner replace the sails with UK Halsey tape drive. The main might be oversized? What is standard for a 311? I can check the UK Halsey dealer here he'll know the size of the main he sold the PO.
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.
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