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Old 21-10-2018, 07:13   #1
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Prudent or Push it?

What are your ideal conditions on the water? 10/15/20 knots of wind? 1-3 foot seas? 3-6 foot? Where is your cutoff for staying in harbor versus taking off for the day?

Each boat will be different for sure, but for a typical 35í cruising boat, what do you feel is the prudent weather cutoff?
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Old 21-10-2018, 07:17   #2
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

0 knots 0 waves
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:07   #3
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

For us and our pretty typical 35í Great Lakes cruising boat:

I really like about 15 knot winds, not sure what wave height we typically see but a few coming over the bow donít bother us.

20 knot winds are acceptable and the crew can (barely) handle 25. The boat could no doubt take more but Iím in no hurry to confirm that.
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:11   #4
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

And FWIW my impression this season was that winds were commonly 5 to 10 knots more that forecast, so if thereís a forecast for 20 knots Iím going to think twice about going out.
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:15   #5
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

I’d suggest it’s more a question of crew than boat.

I’m prudent by nature, but I’ve sailed in heavy weather and am perfectly comfortable doing so with the right crew.

As a sailing couple however, we typically look for 10-15 kts and <3 ft seas.
That said, we’ve also sailed in 7’ seas with a nice long period, but that’s rare.

It will also depend on wind direction vs expected course and duration.
A few hours beating to windward is ok, but when we expect a 14hr day, we’ll pass!

We’re also more likely to stay put on a cold, wet day and then head out when things clear up, even if it means the wind/seas are a bit higher than our preference.

I know my answer is all over the place, but hopefully it helps...
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:17   #6
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

WS and I love 15 knots, will sail in 20 or more in partly protected waters, or open water with a lee. Or open water if it hasn't been blowing too long. A three foot sea (wind waves) is no problem, six feet is uncomfortable. I take crew comfort into account, but I will sometimes make a hop in rougher conditions to get ahead of worse weather.
WS is 39' long, but 16 tons, so she can be more comfortable in wind and waves than lighter boats.
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:36   #7
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Prudent or Push it?

For me itís entirely a matter of point of sail and sea state. My boat is not loaded up going to weather until 13 knots or so. If itís under 10 knots Iím staying put or using the engine unless itís a short run and Iím not going to bake in heat. Hereís a stab at what my limits are. Again these are generalized and depend on how organized the seaway is, temperature/precipitation, and what I had for breakfast.

Close hauled: 17k 2-3í
Close reach: 25k 4í
Beam reach: 30k 7í
Broad reach: 40k 15í
Deep reach/running: 30k 10í

Obviously on a longer passage you take what you get and deal with it so there is that.

And another factor is how the forecast impacts departure and arrival. If the final leg entails a 3 mile motor up a channel into 35k winds and a nasty chop and is going to take two hours at full throttle Iím not heading out lol.
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Old 21-10-2018, 08:57   #8
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

Mostly, it depends on my mood: am I looking for a fight or thrill, or am I going fishing?


It also depends on whether I have a reason to get somewhere.


Finally, there is wear and tear on the gear. Is it really worth bashing into head seas if I could just wait a day or two?


So it's really not about prudence most of the time. I can safely sail in considerably more than I generally want to. I'm way past the point of trying to prove anything to myself.
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Old 21-10-2018, 10:13   #9
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

I donít have A cutoff. Itís wind speed, direction, wave heights, direction, period all compared to where I want to go. Then if to a longer trip the weather trend and forecast gets added.
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Old 21-10-2018, 10:52   #10
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

We are about to leave Maine and headed for the ICW (and south to Florida). We are still very new to sailing, and have sailed in as much as 15kt winds with 1-3 foot seas. All of which has been fairly comfortable. Currently, we are waiting out some windy/wavy weather, though and I'm getting impatient.

For now, it's a game for us between getting south before snow, but getting south safely. I have about 6 different apps that predict wind/waves, plus watching weather on TV, etc. But small craft advisories have been issued pretty much each day since we left port. Today we made the decision to stay in port rather than have wind on our beam at 15kts with 3-5 foot seas, with another small craft advisory.

I guess I just need to be a bit more patient and wait for a better weather window to head down the coast.
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Old 21-10-2018, 11:07   #11
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

Go when you are comfortable. But, you are going to need to rethink your comfort level or you wouldnít even make it across the Sounds on the ICW.
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Old 21-10-2018, 12:08   #12
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

I really look at the weather conditions, not necessarily wind and waves. If it's warm and sunny will pretty much sail in anything below gale warnings. Hear in the Islands it's not unusual to have 30 mph tradewinds and 10' square wind against current waves. Not fun to go to weather in but exhilerating surfing on a reach. If it's overcast and rainy doesn't take much to keep me in the slip. As others have said direction of sail is a big factor in whether to go out. If it's 20 mph winds and six foot seas and I have to go to weather would depend on who I'm sailing with. If it's me alone, no problem. If it's with other people probably wouldn't go as it's no fun sailing with people hanging over the sides puking the their guts out. Also, do I need to get somewhere.

In the case of Maine Guys most recent no go decision, I would have been gone in a New York minute if those conditions were predicted to hold or not get more exciting. 30 knots on a reach with as much sail as I could carry doing hull speed when not surfing is the sailing I love especially If I was chasing the sun south at this time of year. My wife, with a knife in her hand, would be politely asking me to slow the boat down.
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Old 21-10-2018, 12:22   #13
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglaisInHull View Post
And FWIW my impression this season was that winds were commonly 5 to 10 knots more that forecast, so if thereís a forecast for 20 knots Iím going to think twice about going out.
It is that we look most to the highest winds in the predictions, and the predictions are averages over a 10 min. period. The tails of the mean signify in making the average a lower wind speed than we experience. Here in Oz, the met bureau has covered this fact by adding to each forecast these words: "Wind gusts may be up to 40% higher than the averages given here, and wave heights up to twice the height."

Considering the above quote, and factoring it in will smooth your ride. Oh, yeah, and remember you're doing this to have fun, and your choices may vary according to mood, as thinwater suggested.

Ann
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Old 21-10-2018, 12:52   #14
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

It also depends on how reliable your forecasts are. Down here in NZ they're notoriously unreliable, and a forecast 30 can easily be 50+ before you know it. I wouldn't be setting out if they were predicting 30kts, unless it was in the process of easing and I knew that from more than one source.

When out, I'd prefer anything between 10-25, of course.
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Old 21-10-2018, 12:53   #15
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Re: Prudent or Push it?

My boat is a poor performer in 10 knots or less, so at that point unless I'm just out relaxing, I'm usually motoring. Sweet spot for me is about 20-22 knots for anything forward of the beam. Abaft the beam, depends on whether I have crew or not...
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