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View Poll Results: What would the best chance of getting away be?
Beat into the wind to put as much distance between you and the coast s possible, while you listen to some cool music and pretend you're a action hero. 89 57.05%
Go paralell to the coastline and try to keep your distance while being beat up by the waves, just because you have a thing for self torture. 11 7.05%
Furl the sails and throw in the sea anchor, haul out the portable DVD-player and crawl back into bed with a cup of hot cocoa and watch "Titanic". 61 39.10%
I'm screwed, I'll inflate the liferaft and jump ship tightly hugging the EPIRB. 2 1.28%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 156. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-12-2008, 17:40   #61
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Head west....under bare poles..drag a bag of oil and tow some warps.....and surf into my marina...in time for coctails......:-) This is only a 12 hour storm...right..?.....

Seriously...I think Charlie is on the money...Heave-to under tri-sail and storm jib...or staysail if so rigged.
If the boat won't heave-to comfortably, close reaching...falling off a little on the backs of the waves as not to bury the bow.

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Old 28-02-2009, 07:27   #62
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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Tell my wife its her watch.
This must surely be the top answer. neolex has it.



Is it possible? Yes. Weather forecasting is not an exact science - I remember Fastnet 1987.

But what would I do?

I'm a deep draft Pilothouse. Draft would hold me a bit, but would be counteracted by windage.

Hmmmmm. I would start my engine and very slowly motor into it under bare poles, until I had a fairly sure knowledge of how long it would last, at which time I would heave-too under sea anchor/parachute whatever I had. I would notify CG of my location - just in case. Then I would read my insurance documents thoroughly. If all looked good, I would then be thumbing through Yachtworld.com to see what I could afford on the likely payout. Moral: be positive.
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Old 28-02-2009, 08:38   #63
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Without an option that includes rum, there is no realistic way to answer this question.

DGC
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:03   #64
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Without an option that includes rum, there is no realistic way to answer this question.

DGC

Actually I would say it is more of a whiskey or scotch situation.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:24   #65
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The odds of a sailor getting caught in something like this are slim unless he is on a long offshore passage.
I agree the odds are low, but stuff happens. Many no doubt remember the case of Ray Leonard's Satori in the "Perfect Storm" of 1991 off the New England coast. Google "Satori" and "Perfect Storm" if you want to learn more.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:33   #66
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I am really surprised about how many posters selected parachute anchors. I think these must be catamaran owners. I have little knowledge about cats but hear that this is their best option.

For mono hulls there is only 1 rule: keep sailing, for god's sake, keep sailing! We found that an angle 50 degrees true to wind and waves works best for us, selecting a sailplan that will barely move us forward but doesn't move us to leeward either. We are a ketch and do well with a reefed down main. Have done full main with 40 knots gusting 50 and have 3 reefs to reduce further. This was on the Mona passage during tropical storm Claudette in 2003, with the DR east coast a lee shore. The weatherfax 4 hours earlier only mentioned a "weak tropical wave with max. 20 knot winds". We learned about the named storm after arriving in PR... 3 boats went missing that night.

The wind shouldn't be a problem for any yacht out there; the waves are the problem. The factor then becomes waves against size of boat. We have had bigger waves later but on the stern which is easy compared to our Mona passage storm. I estimate the waves were 16-18' high, some breakers and every wave would brake under us as we went through it (we caused that). Some must have been much higher but we never saw those in the dark before breaking over the boat. After an OMG first 30 minutes, one adjusts to it and we listened to loud rock music until sunup without changing a thing. But we have 64' in the water... I think yachts down to 45' would have been easily able to do the same in those conditions. The only green water on deck was before the main mast except a couple of waves that reached the pilothouse... exactly when I peeked around, hitting me full in the face; something my wife still laughs about 6 years later, my timing was excellent ;-) I think the reason was that I felt something was different which turned out to be the big waves... maybe sound or a flatter spot right in front of these waves.

Now the waves go up to 20 foot with higher ones (30') now and then like the topic of this thread. I think 50' and up can still make way at a 50 degree angle. Heaving to would be the alternative, changing to sailing whenever thinking it is possible.

Using the engine instead of sails is the motor-boat version of heaving to. Fishing boats on the North Sea do that all the time and I imagine it isn't different elsewhere. However, for a sailboat, this creates even less comfort so heaving to under sail is better. Just hope you have sails small enough because you can't use a furled jib and only a reefed main when it is designed for it (only ketches can do that I think). Our main is 1/2" thick hydranet (spectra reinforced dacron) at the top. The luff is 55' so it isn't very tall.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:41   #67
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Since heaving to is not an option in this challenge, I would start with option 1 ( beating to windward) and then go to option 3 sea anchor as soon as fatigue prevented option 1 being viable (which in my case would be pretty soon).
However I would deploy sea anchor on a bridle between bow and stern quarter trying to ensure the boat lay about 50 degrees off the weather.
Depending on the success and degree of rest obtained, I might go back to option 1 although if boat was safe with sea anchor deployed and drifting less than 1 kt downwind, I would probably ride out the storm with the sea anchor.
That was my vote too. I'd do the beat to gain some distance, although a beat in those kind of conditions would be brutal. Tremendous loads on the rig. I would certainly be deep reefed, with the yankee down and probably a reefed staysail.

Depending on sea conditions, either heave to, deploy a sea anchor, or both. Waves that big don't come from small storms; only something a massive system would generate 30' breakers in open water, so you're going to be dealing with it for a while.

Safety of the vessel and preserving energy for any problems that might (read: will) pop up are top priorities.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:04   #68
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dive. a sub is the only ship which can sail underneath a hurricane and still go in the right direction!
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:23   #69
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this scenario wouldn't happen

I can see being surprised by a gale in the Beaufort 8 range, perhaps even a severe gale (Beaufort 9), but any navigators that would allow themselves to be caught in a violent storm in the Beaufort 11 range, which is what is being described here, either wasn't paying attention or doesn't have the forecasting skills to belong 100 miles offshore.

Storms this severe don't just show up without forecasters knowing about it. It takes a serious amount of low pressure to generate Beaufort 11 conditions, and that big a low pressure system is going to be awfully hard to hide from modern forecasters.

If you didn't see that one coming, you weren't looking.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:36   #70
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I agree with Bash.
it is a scenario which usually can be avoided.
however, once you are in those circumstances, i wouldn't hesitate to lower all sails, siwtch on the engine and do some active steering as much into the seas as possible, in any case avoiding all breakers ( in the dark you can see them too; they fluoresce considerably) .i realize that the active steering may be necessary for a 48 hour period. so see to it there are at least 2 good helmsmen aboard end enough fuel.
green speck ( 35 ft contest).
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Old 09-03-2009, 13:57   #71
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Can happen.

BBC ON THIS DAY | 14 | 1979: Freak storm hits yacht race

http://www.stanfords.co.uk/articles/...or,162,AR.html
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Old 09-03-2009, 21:02   #72
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i wouldn't hesitate to lower all sails, siwtch on the engine and do some active steering as much into the seas as possible, in any case avoiding all breakers ( in the dark you can see them too; they fluoresce considerably) .i realize that the active steering may be necessary for a 48 hour period.
How do you propose to avoid breakers when steering into the sea in a storm? Also my experience tells me that "phosphorescence" is typically seen in calmer waters, and breakers in any heavy sea do not typically fluoresce, although I'll concede your navlights will reflect off them.
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:15   #73
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Lodesman 's got a point too. The phosphorence may be a problem at night although not in my experience. Still, as far as i have been in such a storm (and i have; yes, yes, i was one of those asses), it is never the whole wave which breaks: it is only a part of it and you can avoid it, maybe not always but most of the time (when active steering). In the cases you can't avoid a breaker at least you ( should) meet it head-on. Meeting a breaker sideways ( abeam)is a sure way of inviting disaster. however the case may be, my real point is that you have a much better chance of survival when steering actively and e.g. meeting seas head-on. another ( minor but maybe not so minor) point:use the enginethrottle! climbing a wave you'll need as much power as possible to keep her head-on into the seas and sometimes even that may not be possible. If you can't hold her straight and head-on into the seas, keep her at least as straight and as much head-on as possible. When you have passed the wave; throttle back! too much speed is also dangerous.
I admit that even these actions may not be enough and you may have insufficient horsepowers. There must indeed be other and better ways of dealing with force 11-12. If so, i haven't had the chance to try them out! and i dont regret it!
the last possibility i want to share is that i heard of someone who maintains that he survived by flooding the vessel. it seems to me a crackpot idea but maybe there's some truth in it.
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:34   #74
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Hand steering in those conditions is extremely exhausting and cannot be sustained for long periods of time. I think it's important to have some kind of passive tactics developed to manage a storm at sea. If I recall Adler Coles analysis, the most successful technique used in the '79 fastnet was heaving-to.
That's not to say, there aren't others. Some people ran before the storm under bare poles trailing warps among other strategies
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:10   #75
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This has been interesting reading, and I hope it will continue. I know that the circumstances are a bit on the far side of likelieness, but that was the whole point. I posted this out of curiousity and there would be no point in posting a question to which I knew the answer, i.e. a mor likely scenario that I have been through myself.

Cheers!

/Hampus
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