Hello again Big Beakie,
Alway nice to speak with you.. I have an example of a stern quarter boarding sea in 25 knots + on the Helia, that I can relate
Look, this may seem extreme, but my Wife has a bone spur in her neck and could get sick on me. For my confidence, for my sport, I have been Single
my Helia 44 in heavier weather now three times. In case I can fly the big furling
off the wind, I extend Gennaker furling gear
on the port side with a 6 meter extension line sheep-shanked to the end and led to the helm winch
island starboard in front of the helm. It is a straight shot.. For the big furling Genoa/Gennaker, the port sheet is long enough to do a half wrap on the winch
and also lead up to the helm winch island... For heavier weather, the working jib
port and starboard sheets
are already led, and I have enough winches to have a dedicated one for port and starboard, as main halyard
is jam cleated off securely, and starboard furler
for the inner furller working jib
is already led there. I stand in front of the helm on a tack, running the helm with one hand behind me and the winch island with the other. It is really not as hard as it sounds if you are reasonably fit and a seasoned sailor..
Anyway, by example in a not so perfect world, my worst blue with a Cat to date was this in a race:
Rounding one island in 1 1/2 to 2 meter seas with white horses everywhere in 25 kts gusting maybe 30 apparent, as the afternoon winds unexpectedly picked up 5-8 more knots that forecast
... I would not do a controlled gybe as it is a huge stress on the rig.. Instead, from a broad reach with limited water to the beach, heading west in the Northerly, I turned up to starboard into the wind and rolled around to do a controlled tack instead of a gybe, and went on downwind on the correct tack to the ESE with main and working jib. As I did this, I had enough of wind wave hitting the stern quarter to put sheets
of water over the port stern quarter to the starboard side.. Now, I am not sure Crew would have helped this, it was a neat enough tack, but I took enough of a hit with the top of a windwave that I would not have wanted to see worse with the dinghy in place.
I am not sure this was in ANY WAY poor Seamanship, given the conditions, it was almost the only way to do it.. Mind you the comments in the Club were that they were surprised I completed the course as it got a bit shirty out there. It was getting bad enough I was in proper offshore gear
vest, waterproof VHF
, personal Epirb
, and dual hook up safety
harness.. I am crazy, not stupid. And to call the race
at that point was pretty near useless with the same distance to home as doing the safey tack around the island OK?
While this is not classically being "pooped" and Cats are fast and agile enough to avoid this, it is not a perfect world.
You do not have to be the classic "pooped" by a breaking windwave on a following sea, it could happen over the stern quarter as you surf down a big wave IMO.. While with good Seamanship I agree it is not likely, when something goes wrong I think it is still entirely possible, and THAT is why I think F.P. put in the big grate and cockpit drains.. I do not ever intend to need them, but offshore in a pinch it could be necessary surfing down the face of big waves like I have seen with the top breaking in winds over 60 knots..
BTW, in the worst I have seen, when I was younger, it was bad enough that you got to where you were a bit scared to look behind you..
As you are slowing the boat down to let the waves pass under you with control, and you come back up the face of the following wave up your stern quarter, after about 10-15 feet of it you start to hear the sucking sound of the breaking part of the windwave before it passes white water all around you with the boat shuddering, and then you are into the full force of shrieking scream of the whole gale at sea of 60+ knots at the top of the wave as it boils past ...
I hope this is entertaining to you,
I can assure you at the time it was scary..
For any armchair warriors, you might think this sound fun or exciting, but it is not... I can assure you that would be praying that if God lets you ever get ashore again you are going to move to a farm far inland...
Kind regards from Helia, older, not as fit, questionably wiser.. heh he he...