Originally Posted by jyoung
I watched some videos about sailboats caught in hurricanes, and wrecked on a lee shore. my question is if you end up in the situation of being caught, would it not be better to start the motor
and go into the storm rather than risk beaching the boat?
These boats sailing or at anchor
yes, sure, get the pressure off the anchor with the engine
. I did that for 20 hours once.
At sea (you should never be in a hurricane
nowadays with modern weather satellite phone
reports), the problem is called 'embayment'. In old sailing ship days the ships could really only go downwind so if they could not get off a coast they were stuffed. Now consider a large bay - the big one between Cape Lookout and Cape Fear is a classic, the Graveyard of the Atlantic. You have to point even higher to get out of the bay. Impossible for sailing ships and not easy for even modern sailing boats because as the wind
picks up you gain more leeway. The apparent wind
comes more and more on your nose as leeway increases. So you just cant sail upwind enough to dig off a shore or out of a bay.
But with the engine on you reduce leeway. The apparent wind comes further aft and you can sail higher upwind.
Remember apparent wind is 'apparent'.... So you can adjust it. In light winds you can increase it with an engine, and in strong winds you can reduce it, or change it with the engine.
Engines in modern boats are not 'auxillary' they are main power plants nearly equal to your sails
. So use it like that.
One other thing about embayment is the deeper you are in an open bay the larger, more confused the swells as they bounce off the sides of the bay in all directions. Every wave you hit stops or slows the boat, increasing leeway.
If you are stuck in a large bay and you cant get out you have to tack, tack, tack again, with the engine on... Until the storm passes. It would be very very hard work. I would suggest that exhastion would be the reason why a good boat, well crewed would end up in the breakers. If you are in the situation just work at it. The storm will pass.
PS wheres my spell checker?