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Old 06-06-2015, 06:38   #31
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Re: Offshore novice question

Two sites that convinced me to have a series drouge onboard:

Victor Shane's Drag Device Data Base | Using Parachutes, Sea Anchors and Drogues to Cope with Heavy Weather – Over 130 Documented Case Histories

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Old 06-06-2015, 06:47   #32
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pirate Re: Offshore novice question

Has anyone here actually Ever laid a hull in a storm and big seas.. or are you all just speculating..
You know... The 60 knot winds and 3 metre seas bullshit..
Try 10-11 metres.. The Biscay in a 75 knot SE'ly for example.. or off the Azores with similar conditions..
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:38   #33
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Re: Offshore novice question

Interesting thread, learned some about heaving too. I too use it as a parking technique when things are rough, though I have not been in storms like the one's mentioned. 7 meter swells are enough for me.
The disappearing head sail point is useful, I have had blows were the bow of the boat provided enough head sail, and a trisyl for the rear.
Preparation is the key.
But I like avoidance the best :P
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Old 06-06-2015, 14:25   #34
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Re: Offshore novice question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
not all yachts heave to well at all and not all sailors know how to do it anyhow. Long or modified keel medium to heavy displacement craft heave to best, by and large, especially with a ketch or yawl rig. Light high aspect flat bottom wedges really don't do well at all in the heave to by and large, and for cats it is almost a redundant question.
I've had a long keel heavy 32' (Columbia Sabre) that hove-to extremely well. My next boat was an ultralight daggerboard and my current boat is a fin-keel, flat bottom wedge.

The comment about them not heaving-to very well is correct: It's much simpler to heave-to a long-keel boat using the traditional method, and modern fin-keeled, flat bottom boats that try the traditional method are unlikely to remain hove-to without work in my experience.

First caveat, I'm dealing with southern California, where the problem isn't wind so much as it is waves in the very deep San Pedro. When there's a hurricane in Baja, we get outsized waves compared to windspeed. We may easily have 12 foot waves with a 20 knot wind, for example.

What works for me on these boats and in these conditions is heaving-to on main only, no jib, with the boom hauled to one side and lashed to an arch or stanchion to position the angle of the keel to the waves. With the CLR on these boats being well forward of the CE when on the mainsail only, high winds will turn the boat directly into irons. If the boom is centered, the keel will be pointing at the wind. Start with the boom hardened up on the centerline, and move it off to find the position of best comfort in small increments until you're satisfied that you've got the best comfort you're going to get.

Lash the helm such that the rudders are giving you the pointing angle you want but are still overpowered by the wind, and again, you'll have to find the best angle of rudders as hard-over may cause the boat to rotate. I do this with the autopilot in "power steer" mode from inside the cabin. (I'm quite certain I'll be lambasted for relying on electronics rather than crawling out into the cockpit while the boat is being pooped and lashing the helm to a stanchion like a true seaman).

The boat will make a little more headway than a classic hove-to maneuver, but not by much, and it's extremely stable. Essentially the main is acting as an air rudder like the mizzen mast on a yawl. I use a roller-furling main, and furl it down to the point where the boat is handling well.

Anyway, just my experience on these kinds of boats. It's my opinion that there's always a way to hove-to, you just have to find what works best.
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Old 06-06-2015, 14:55   #35
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Re: Offshore novice question

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Interesting thread, learned some about heaving too. I too use it as a parking technique when things are rough, though I have not been in storms like the one's mentioned. 7 meter swells are enough for me.
The disappearing head sail point is useful, I have had blows were the bow of the boat provided enough head sail, and a trisyl for the rear.
Preparation is the key.
But I like avoidance the best :P
I have a drogue which I have never had a reason to use... just lucky I guess, I am however a great believer in storm jibs. I noted somewhere else how few boats seem to have the ability to hank on a storm jib on an inner forestay.

One benefit is that you can lower the centre of effort ( frd of the mast) and also bring it further aft so that with a triple reefed main you have a balance sail plan which will make heaving to a lot easier. Having a scrap of sail half way up your forestay just isn't very sensible.

Downhill one I typically get rid of the mainsail quite early.... then if its still too lively get rid of the genoa which would already be well reefed and start working my way down through my storm jibs. Life is a lot easier if you keep all of the drive up frd.

A little storm jib story... my boat was built in the mid 80's and when I bought her she came with her original storm jib. First time I used it in Bass Strait I found it way to powerful. Spoke to my sailmaker. 'Ah' sez he 'thats a pre-Fastnet storm jib...150 sq foot... you need a 100 sq foot one'
So... crossing the Tasman I found the new one too powerful as well so I asked a Wellington sailmaker.... 'in Cook Strait 50 sq foot would be what we would use'.... so now I have three and the smaller two get the most use. I can have two set up on deck ready to go with a minimum of fuss.

They are also handy things to have when on a reach.
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Old 06-06-2015, 17:32   #36
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Re: Offshore novice question

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
I've had a long keel heavy 32' (Columbia Sabre) that hove-to extremely well. My next boat was an ultralight daggerboard and my current boat is a fin-keel, flat bottom wedge.

The comment about them not heaving-to very well is correct: It's much simpler to heave-to a long-keel boat using the traditional method, and modern fin-keeled, flat bottom boats that try the traditional method are unlikely to remain hove-to without work in my experience.

First caveat, I'm dealing with southern California, where the problem isn't wind so much as it is waves in the very deep San Pedro. When there's a hurricane in Baja, we get outsized waves compared to windspeed. We may easily have 12 foot waves with a 20 knot wind, for example.

What works for me on these boats and in these conditions is heaving-to on main only, no jib, with the boom hauled to one side and lashed to an arch or stanchion to position the angle of the keel to the waves. With the CLR on these boats being well forward of the CE when on the mainsail only, high winds will turn the boat directly into irons. If the boom is centered, the keel will be pointing at the wind. Start with the boom hardened up on the centerline, and move it off to find the position of best comfort in small increments until you're satisfied that you've got the best comfort you're going to get.

Lash the helm such that the rudders are giving you the pointing angle you want but are still overpowered by the wind, and again, you'll have to find the best angle of rudders as hard-over may cause the boat to rotate. I do this with the autopilot in "power steer" mode from inside the cabin. (I'm quite certain I'll be lambasted for relying on electronics rather than crawling out into the cockpit while the boat is being pooped and lashing the helm to a stanchion like a true seaman).

The boat will make a little more headway than a classic hove-to maneuver, but not by much, and it's extremely stable. Essentially the main is acting as an air rudder like the mizzen mast on a yawl. I use a roller-furling main, and furl it down to the point where the boat is handling well.

Anyway, just my experience on these kinds of boats. It's my opinion that there's always a way to hove-to, you just have to find what works best.
Very interesting discussion and thank you! As to lambasting. Not at all. There is no "true" technique. Each sea and each boat is different. Advice and prior learning can only ever be an approximation. I found your discussion really very interesting and useful. Thanks again.
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Old 06-06-2015, 18:02   #37
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Re: Offshore novice question

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Has anyone here actually Ever laid a hull in a storm and big seas.. or are you all just speculating..
You know... The 60 knot winds and 3 metre seas bullshit..
Try 10-11 metres.. The Biscay in a 75 knot SE'ly for example.. or off the Azores with similar conditions..
Not for prolonged periods, no. I have for short periods perforce of circumstance rather than design. The survival storms I have encountered have always been faced by one or other or a combination of techniques, lying ahull not being among them. They have been extremely rare in my sailing career. Mere gales or severe gales being common, storms being less common but not infrequent.

Would love to hear your experiences of laying ahull… in particular including boat model etc.In regards to my experience of lying ahull perforce in the worst circumstances, I have not found it to be an experience worth reccomending. However that perception may be flawed, so please do expand.
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Old 06-06-2015, 18:21   #38
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Re: Offshore novice question

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
I have a drogue which I have never had a reason to use... just lucky I guess, I am however a great believer in storm jibs. I noted somewhere else how few boats seem to have the ability to hank on a storm jib on an inner forestay.

One benefit is that you can lower the centre of effort ( frd of the mast) and also bring it further aft so that with a triple reefed main you have a balance sail plan which will make heaving to a lot easier. Having a scrap of sail half way up your forestay just isn't very sensible.

Downhill one I typically get rid of the mainsail quite early.... then if its still too lively get rid of the genoa which would already be well reefed and start working my way down through my storm jibs. Life is a lot easier if you keep all of the drive up frd.

A little storm jib story... my boat was built in the mid 80's and when I bought her she came with her original storm jib. First time I used it in Bass Strait I found it way to powerful. Spoke to my sailmaker. 'Ah' sez he 'thats a pre-Fastnet storm jib...150 sq foot... you need a 100 sq foot one'
So... crossing the Tasman I found the new one too powerful as well so I asked a Wellington sailmaker.... 'in Cook Strait 50 sq foot would be what we would use'.... so now I have three and the smaller two get the most use. I can have two set up on deck ready to go with a minimum of fuss.

They are also handy things to have when on a reach.
Agreed. In my case I do not carry a separate storm jib aboard. Many of the vessels I work on do, and it is a good idea. Why don't I? Because I have a mid to heavy displacement craft and a cutter rig. My inner foresail is spectra and flat cut. Its reefline is likewise spectra or UHMWPE. It is as strong as the steel it is mounted on, and can be reefed in the severest of gales. I wholly agree about the necessity of a bulletproof foresail, preferably well aft of the forestay. That said, the ultimate usefulness of such a sail is either forereaching or else running. Particularly on a cutter rig, the wind friction on the furled headsails alone will be suffiicient windage. This largely obviates the need for the likes of the traditional "spitfire jib", which provided by and large less windage than the furled sails do themselves.

It is a separate question whether stowing sails aloft in a survival storm is reasonable. It is obviously less than desirable, but then, if one had sufficient warning one would likely not be there in the first place…
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Old 06-06-2015, 19:37   #39
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Re: Offshore novice question

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Has anyone here actually Ever laid a hull in a storm and big seas.. or are you all just speculating..
You know... The 60 knot winds and 3 metre seas bullshit..
Try 10-11 metres.. The Biscay in a 75 knot SE'ly for example.. or off the Azores with similar conditions..
Do power boats count? Because about 7 or 8 years ago on Christmas day in a blizzard I was on a commercial power boat (240 ft). We were running hard with a big (very big) following sea. The stern kicked up out of the water and both screws free wheeled. There were rev limiter on the engines, so when the engines free wheeled we blacked out- lost everything except our steering, bridge electronics and emergency lighting. The next while was a nightmare. Several men were hospitalized due to the extreme rolling. The ship was fine though. Perfectly fine.

I have not laid a hull in a sailboat.

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Old 06-06-2015, 22:23   #40
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Re: Offshore novice question

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Do power boats count? Because about 7 or 8 years ago on Christmas day in a blizzard I was on a commercial power boat (240 ft). We were running hard with a big (very big) following sea. The stern kicked up out of the water and both screws free wheeled. There were rev limiter on the engines, so when the engines free wheeled we blacked out- lost everything except our steering, bridge electronics and emergency lighting. The next while was a nightmare. Several men were hospitalized due to the extreme rolling. The ship was fine though. Perfectly fine.

I have not laid a hull in a sailboat.

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Of course they count. Almost all sailboats now are auxilliary sailboats meaning that they are at least 40% powerboats in terms of their immediately available propulsion. But when you speak of pure powerboat tactics I am less qualified to speak. It seems to me however that power assisted fore reaching in your example would have been an effective strategy which would have likely avoided the most severe consequences of which you have spoken.
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Old 06-06-2015, 22:36   #41
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Re: Offshore novice question

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Of course they count. Almost all sailboats now are auxilliary sailboats meaning that they are at least 40% powerboats in terms of their immediately available propulsion. But when you speak of pure powerboat tactics I am less qualified to speak. It seems to me however that power assisted fore reaching in your example would have been an effective strategy which would have likely avoided the most severe consequences of which you have spoken.
Power assisted foreaching was not an option. We were dead ship. Ice accretion was a foot thick, much more in places.

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Old 06-06-2015, 23:04   #42
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Re: Offshore novice question

Doug Brown in post #28 has it right. Any of us who have sailed commercially know that you don't wait for the perfect weather window... You must leave according to a schedule and deal with whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Watching and understanding the weather in the area in which you choose or must sail is THE most important job of whoever is responsible for the welfare of the vessel and its crew.
With a little warning and skill knowing what action to take well before you get pasted is very important. Lows and tropical storms can be seen on virtually all weather maps and faxes and positioning your vessel to take advantage of the disturbance is a very old and time honored way to deal with wind and sea conditions. Those who place themselves and crew at extreme risk to try different techniques are not only foolish but dangerous to sail with. Sort all that out long before you need to.
Years and years of working under a competent skipper who knew when to stay the course and when to run teaches you more than just seamanship, it teaches you judgement , decision making and leadership. These attributes will bring you and your crew through anything. Phil
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Old 07-06-2015, 00:16   #43
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pirate Re: Offshore novice question

First time was 96.. a Westerly Longbow.. we were Headed for LA Courna from the Channel Isles when a forecast 6 day window slammed shut 20 hrs S of Ushant when the wind veered SE and rapidly climbed to 60+ knots.
The seas backed up fast.. wind over GS current.. started hove to but that was a waste of time as in the deep narrow troughs they just flapped and as we hit another crest theyed try and knock us over. So I furled the Genoa and dropped the main.. that was fun..
The next 36 hrs were spent below.. my crew disappeared head first down a quarter berth, all I could see was her feet while I wedged myself in the saloon with occasional peeks outs the hatch.. did call a ship as we were very close to shipping lanes.. If memory serves.. we were navigational warning 89 for that year.. Vessel not under command..
Anyway.. when things eased and the wind went NE I upped sail and we carried on our way.. Absolutely no damage.. but did teach me the value of secure stowage below..
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Old 07-06-2015, 00:41   #44
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pirate Re: Offshore novice question

More recently.. June 05 I was about 60 miles W of Flores soloing a Hunter37c to to the UK when a big low caught about 30 of us out there..
Did not even bother heaving to just dropped everything and battened down for 4 days.. high winds, huge seas and nonstop rain that cut visibility to maybe 200 metres..
Boy was I glad it stopped when it did and the horizon opened.. Flores was dead ahead about 5 miles distant with 100 waterfalls cascading off her cliffs from all the rain.. another 1/2 day and I'd has been bits off plastic scattered on the rocks.
No damage topside.. still had the dinghy on the coach roof despite watching green water sweep overhead and the occasional toss by a breaking wave.. on one I was pitched over the table to land on the opposite berth.
The lanterns were swinging well in Peters, Horta when we all got in with tales to tell.. a few blown sails.. coupla masts lost but thankfully all survived.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:24   #45
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Re: Offshore novice question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
Doug Brown in post #28 has it right. Any of us who have sailed commercially know that you don't wait for the perfect weather window... You must leave according to a schedule and deal with whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Watching and understanding the weather in the area in which you choose or must sail is THE most important job of whoever is responsible for the welfare of the vessel and its crew.
With a little warning and skill knowing what action to take well before you get pasted is very important. Lows and tropical storms can be seen on virtually all weather maps and faxes and positioning your vessel to take advantage of the disturbance is a very old and time honored way to deal with wind and sea conditions. Those who place themselves and crew at extreme risk to try different techniques are not only foolish but dangerous to sail with. Sort all that out long before you need to.
Years and years of working under a competent skipper who knew when to stay the course and when to run teaches you more than just seamanship, it teaches you judgement , decision making and leadership. These attributes will bring you and your crew through anything. Phil
This is a great idea in theory, not always possible or true in practise. Depressions, tropical waves and rotational supercell type systems are not always well forecast and despite what you say here frequently do NOT show up in the most advanced forecasting data. This is not true of all areas and latitudes, but is indeed true of the intertropical zones of interaction between high and low latitude, temperate to tropical convergences. Please see my post on that above. Of course being weather aware and understanding it and having forward planning is great and vital. In smaller, slower moving craft, it is simply not always enough. This is just a fact. And… I am a commercial skipper also.
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