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Old 15-07-2010, 18:09   #1
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Storm Gear

I've got zero experience riding out a storm. I've read the Pardee's book along with a few others, and done what research I can online but you guys always seem to have a useful perspective.

Soooo, as we get ready to head offshore for the first time, I thought I'd share the list of gear we've got and see if you fine people had anything you'd add.

Our storm gear for far:

I also bought Robinson Storm Chute, but poking around here, it looks like I maybe should have saved my money:

Robinson Offshore Storm Chute

Any other thoughts on that style drogue? If I've gotta get another one, any recommendations?

I'd be happier if we also had a trysail, but it's expensive (particularly since we don't have a separate track on the mast and I'd have to install one). My thinking is that a trysail can be foregone with the deep third reef and the sea anchor. Curious to get thoughts on that logic...

Anything else I'm missing? Pearls of wisdom before a newbie heads out on the high seas?
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:03   #2
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Some way to get weather forecasts (GRIBs) twice a day. Or perhaps call one of the weather routing services. And enough weather knowledge to understand them. GRIBs, in the right hands, can greatly reduce the chance of needing to use the heavy weather gear.

Some heavy weather experience would be good too. Go out when it's rough.

Foulies
Jack lines (practice with them in fair weather)
A boat that doesn't leak much
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:28   #3
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yeah, thanks daddle - i guess i wasn't thinking of weather data as storm gear per se, but you're right. any yup, pretty well equipped on that front too.

check, check, check on the other items as well...

any opinion on the trysail bit?
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:38   #4
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Some heavy weather experience would be good too. Go out when it's rough.
sorry, one other question on that front too:

last spring it was 35 knots in the marina with whitecaps in the fairway. i thought "great, let's practice heaving to", and out we went - adventure one was getting spun around coming out of the slip and crabbing toward the "leeward shore" of the marina (open slip saved my ass).

not to be deterred, we made another go of it and managed to get out into the slot where it was gusting to 50+ (i've got an awesome shot of the anemometer at 53 ) which resulted in a few more adventures - torn mains'l (hence the new one) and a partial failure of the port side upper shroud. the rigger said it was overdue for replacement anyhow...

in subsequent talks with my dock mates, i heard "go out when it's rough, not insane, dumbass" more than once.

on the other hand, i got some hard earned experience heading down a windy fairway (won't do that the same way again) and pointed myself toward equipment failures that needed attention and otherwise might not have gotten as much.

what's your philosophy on when practice becomes dangerous?

how's that for thread drift?
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:39   #5
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Deep third reef should be enough if the boat is fairly stiff. Depend's where you are going. Down the coast to Mexico, or dwaddling along the milkrun to NZ you'll 'never' need it.
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:42   #6
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the milk run's the plan, actually.

i'll pass that comment along to the missus, she'll appreciate it.
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:45   #7
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The flashing light on the EPIRB indicates danger. Marinas are always dangerous, that was ill-advised to try. 53 in the slot is pretty good. No proper seas though.

Heaving-to with a too large headsail can break stuff.

Popular these days are double furling headsails. That must be scary in a blow. All the drag of 3 masts and the threat of shreaded flogging sails too.
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Old 15-07-2010, 20:47   #8
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Remember, it's not the wind that'll getcha - it is the sea state.
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Old 25-07-2010, 07:55   #9
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The best autopilot you can afford if it's just the two of you, steering in heavy weather can be fun but you will need rest if it keeps up for a while.
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Old 25-07-2010, 08:01   #10
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what's your philosophy on when practice becomes dangerous?
Hurricane.

Anything less than that is a good test of both sailor and boat. It's very good to rip up weak equipment in controlled conditions, so that you know for sure what needs replacing.

As someone said, what you did was not really so much of a test, because you weren't experiencing the sea state of the open ocean with 50+ knot winds. Now that is some sh*t.
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Old 25-07-2010, 10:24   #11
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Good intentions, but bad implementation...

1) Read Adlard Cole, just to say you did if nothing else.

2) Practicing on the inside in SF Pond is not really gonna gain much. Too many reflections and dangerous. And you could have done a lot of damage to your boat and more importantly others @#$S&(DA&. You would't be heaving or running so close to shore in most cases. Its not the winds its the seas.

Justifying by saying it caught gear that needed work?? You should be able to find anything that is questionable or in need without having to go out in extreme weather if you open your eyes and inspect. There is also nothing to say things might have given way in a light breeze just as easily.

3) Practicing in a stiff breeze on the outside is better as you'll get more consistent wave action and in a smaller wind allow you to make adjustments to your gear, practice more. Just don't practice in the potato patch etc.

Question: what's your philosophy on when practice becomes dangerous?

Answer: when it's unnecessary.

4) Gear:

Heavy (and brand new) mainsail with a deep third reef
Storm jib
Sea Anchor with 300' of rode
4" snatch block to rig a Pardee bridle
6 man offshore liferaft
EPIRB

I'd get 2-4 EPIRBs - one for ship, one for life raft, one for each person
Whats in your ditch bag?
How many GPS's do you have?
How many VHF's do you have?

3rd reef in main - didnt say what your sailcloth weight is. Didn't mention if you had a backup main? I thought for my next boat I would have very heavy sailcloth in the 3rd reef only, but now have thoughts this will destroy shape. Thing is, your main should be prepared for light winds in the trade, but storm sails should be 10 or more ounce. So your boat may sail like crapola in light winds. You could pick up a second hand trisail. You don't necessarily have to have a separate track, just means it wont be at the ready - but you can just run it up early. Did you look into that? 100:1 the one you buy is probably cheap and new since they aren't used and everyone has one they never use.

Pardey - not sure your boat design is gonna heave to or handle that kind of technique. Pardey works well in traditional. You'll have to report back your results as I'd like to know how well it works for you.

Robinson - for a drogue?? one word - dumb. go for a Series, or a simple cone (which surprisingly is one of the best). I'd still carry a couple of lines to use as a warp etc. But really, anything will serve you well. Even an old tire or hose with an anchor. Mind you not as well as a design, but its something.

I'd spend more time on skill sets - learning how to jury rig, being better @ marlinspike, dealing with weather, and emergency navigation.

Hows your sextant work? gotta backup?

Truth is only 1% of your weather will most likely be rough and tough.
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Old 25-07-2010, 10:28   #12
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Oh one thought on that life raft. I would have gone smaller because there are only two of you and the amount of weight in the raft vs windage/waves might just blow you out of it or flip it over quickly when first launching and maybe even after the water ballast fills. That's been the record out there and the advise seems to be to go smaller.
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Old 25-07-2010, 10:44   #13
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I'd suggest adding some fish oil as it can reduce the motion of the vessel. You don't add much at a time.

The other thing I'd practice is lying ahull or heaving to. This can provide some relief, take some of the strain off the boat, and as long as you're not in danger of hitting a lee shore can outlast the storm.

You have a lot of the right gear, and are getting some great insight and knowledge from the books but unless your boat's prepared for rough seas (locking drawers, lee cloths, preplanned simple meals, and a clear deck) the gear won't matter much as you dodge containers and tools.
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Old 25-07-2010, 10:57   #14
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capt_douglas - my understanding is you need quite a bit of this oil to work correctly. Also it tastes horrible :P

securing everything is great fundamental advice, as you are more likely to get a head injury or brake an arm. Check those engine bolts. Wear bicycle helmets.

Whats in your medical kit?
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:21   #15
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I think you did great. Marinas are for people who don't sail much; don't listen to them. And yes, I'm in a marina so I know what I'm talking about.

You learned more, you upgraded your boat, and you're alive and coming back for more. More than anyone else did on your dock that day.
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