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Old 27-04-2013, 06:53   #151
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Ha. No. I did have a captain on a container ship who used to get out the white gloves for cabin inspections...

On the square riggers it was a matter of pride to get a good stow quickly.

We had harbour stows, sea stows and storm gaskets. The game was to get your side of the yard furled faster and neater than the guys on the other side.
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Old 27-04-2013, 19:51   #152
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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I am not convinced a hard dodger would help all that much in a complete capsize
On reflection I now think that a strong dodger would help even in a capsize as long as there was some decent way to wedge yourself in and something strong to hang onto. The danger would be a head injury due to being washed around inside it. But other things like booms and such are just as likely to do the same sort of damage. And the smooth roof of a dodger is much less likely to cause an issue. The dodger should also protect you from the worst of the initial impact of the wave, and if outside the cockpit will at least give you something solid to hang onto.
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Old 27-04-2013, 19:58   #153
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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On reflection I now think that a strong dodger would help even in a capsize as long as there was some decent way to wedge yourself in and something strong to hang onto. The danger would be a head injury due to being washed around inside it. But other things like booms and such are just as likely to do the same sort of damage. And the smooth roof of a dodger is much less likely to cause an issue. The dodger should also protect you from the worst of the initial impact of the wave, and if outside the cockpit will at least give you something solid to hang onto.

The idea of helmets is making more and more sense. I know this sounds stupid -- but do they make sailing helmets? If not, what would be a good substitute?
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Old 27-04-2013, 20:03   #154
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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...while trying to get into Palliser Bay for a bit of shelter.
(It's just one of those areas which generates legends.... but they were "only" in a NW - the whole region is an order of magnitude more scary as a venue in S sector, as you eloquently describe)
.
Actually it was a W-NW er as well. I have spent a bit of time trying to hindcast the storm. With a fetch of only 35 miles the sig wave height was probably only 20 feet, unless we can include the small gap though cook strait. of course there was a big northerly swell and the usual southerly swell, so the real wave height was probably bigger. But I have seen much bigger waves, just never anywhere as nasty, which I suppose goes to show that coastal sailing can be pretty serous, although with modern forecasting we would not have been where we were (we had a very critical $$ deadline as well).

If you have access to the library newspaper records the date was around the 17 and 18 of January 1990.

We are going to get the Logbook out and try to reconstruct what actually happened.
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Old 27-04-2013, 20:23   #155
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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The idea of helmets is making more and more sense. I know this sounds stupid -- but do they make sailing helmets? If not, what would be a good substitute?
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regarding helmets I like the idea of these rugby ones, they are soft and should be more comfortable to wear than bike helmets. Although they don't offer the protection of a rigid one.
There is all sorts of conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of helmets and the increased danger of neck injuries. But I think one of the softer flexible helmets could just provide enough protection to reduce the severity of a concussion and the blood loss due to a gash. It seems many of the capsize events include at least one crew member getting an injury of some sort. This is a common (and easily justified) cause for hitting the epirb button. Anything that can be done to prevent injury has got to be well worth while.

We had a lady fly across the cabin on our way to the Antarctic Peninsula on a charter yacht. Her leecloth knot came undone and she hit an aluminium WT door handle with her head. Very worrying and lots of blood. fortunately the conditions were good and the research bases south where the closest medical aid, so we kept going. Monitoring her state of consciousness very carefully all night and for the next few days. She was fine except for the missing hair where I patched her up.

Leecloth design to prevent the possibility of coming out in a knockdown or rollover is a good idea. Northern light uses seatbelts to hold them in their bunks. I have used a top leecloth that completely shuts me in. Another alternative is to get your head up into the quarterberth, and sleep that way.
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Old 27-04-2013, 20:39   #156
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Maybe a laminated sheet with bad weather preparations wouldn't be a bad idea.

About securing above decks, I make sure I really put a tight stow on the mainsail, not just a normal stow. In a knockdown any loose folds can fill with water and the extra bulk can also put added loads on the mast. I like those boom bags for this reason, as long as they can be frapped up tight and then lashed as well. Make sure the spinnaker pole is very secure. It is your emergency mast.
Also, I forgot to add, before putting the storm gaskets on the main, put double lashings on the boom to absolutely prevent any possibility of it moving. Or if you have gallows lash the boom firmly in, and then add the extra lashings. The extra lashings should go out port and starboard to strong points triangulating the boom end. These lashings help take the load off the topping lift.

Doing this makes it much safer to work around the boom and put a really good lashing on the main. And if a big wave comes over the boat or in a knockdown the boom will transfer much less load to the mast through the gooseneck.
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Old 27-04-2013, 21:30   #157
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Actually it was a W-NW er as well.
I misled myself by imagining that you ran off to end up at Castlepoint, hence it must have been S sector. I'm guessing you were actually reaching up in the lee the of the Wairarapa coast, then?

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With a fetch of only 35 miles the sig wave height was probably only 20 feet, unless we can include the small gap though cook strait. of course there was a big northerly swell and the usual southerly swell, so the real wave height was probably bigger. But I have seen much bigger waves, just never anywhere as nasty, which I suppose goes to show that coastal sailing can be pretty serious....
Amen to that. The only survival conditions I've ever sailed through, and by far the nastiest waves, were not a lot over 20ft significant ht, (although they were so steep they looked twice that) and not more than 25 knots of wind on average.

And coastal. Not far from Palliser Bay, as it happens.... (other side of Durville, off Croiselles)

The worst thing was, we had no choice but to take them on the beam.

I suppose one other instance, somewhere between French Polynesia and Niue, could be called survival conditions, but only because we had way too much sail up and couldn't get rid of it in time. Three times as much wind as the first example, and ten times as much boat....

... but the big boat would have been in big trouble in the conditions we got caught in in the wee boat, and because the first situation was not a meteorological one but an unheralded swell train of distant origin compounded by an adverse tidal flow, I'm pretty sure it would not be covered even by modern wx forecasting. (The formal forecast, and our 'on the spot' expectation from weather signs, was for no wind at all: this is the same instance I brought up where I mused about the possibility of such a freak swell train creating its own wind)

The small boat would have been OK in the tropical blow, 'cause we could have dropped the sails in a flash and run off under bare pole... I say that because the strength was more than sufficient to blow the sea absolutely flat, and clocked around so quickly it stayed that way. It only lasted maybe an hour at full strength, but kicked up fairly nasty as the wind strength was dropping. The wee boat still would have managed though, as long as sail was got back up quickly enough.

Neither of these situations bore any resemblance to a survival storm, so I apologise for the thread drift.
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Old 28-04-2013, 02:07   #158
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

Evans,

Thank youfor your reply, I now understand the retrieval proces.

Just to keep bothering you with questions

I've never delployed a drogue, so all I have is some reading. How do you deploy without getting a sudden overload on the winches/cleats etc when the drogue is fully extended?

If we assume the boat is traveling at say 8-10 knots when you decide to deploy, with say 200 mters of rode, over the transom with the drogue, which now catches water and the rode proceeds to play out.

In this scenario (10 knot boat speed), the 200 meters of rode will play out in approximately 2 minutes (line speed will also be about 10 knots, so no way you can "hang on to it and slow it down by handling it - even with gloves)

At some point the rode becomes tight and now the situationis reminiscient of at car tied to a tree that takes off and stops suddenly when the slack is taken up.

The same would happen with the boat - how do you avoid this?

Your article is great - for those who have never used a drogue (in anger), aa followup article on the practical aspects of deploying and retrieving the drogue would be most welcome (just something to help you keep busy)

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Old 29-04-2013, 05:40   #159
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The idea of helmets is making more and more sense. I know this sounds stupid -- but do they make sailing helmets? If not, what would be a good substitute?
A windsurfing helmet would work pretty well. Designed to get wet and has holes close to the ear so that your hearing is not impaired. They are also useful for going up the mast offshore.
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Old 29-04-2013, 06:23   #160
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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A windsurfing helmet would work pretty well. Designed to get wet and has holes close to the ear so that your hearing is not impaired. They are also useful for going up the mast offshore.

Thank you! Never having done that sport, I didn't even know such a thing existed.
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Old 29-04-2013, 06:39   #161
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

We might look at the helmets worn by the America's Cup racers:

I suspect that these helmets are effective and not excessively cumbersome. The helmet is apparently an excellent place to put your sponsor's logo, too. What? You don't have a sponsor?
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Old 29-04-2013, 07:08   #162
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

A bicycle helmet is cheap, readily available, has holes to air out and doesn't impair your hearing. They will also withstand getting wet.

Very useful when diving under the boat to clear line from prop or the like (don't ask me how I know the boat can hit you in the head)

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Old 29-04-2013, 07:38   #163
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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We might look at the helmets worn by the America's Cup racers:

I suspect that these helmets are effective and not excessively cumbersome. The helmet is apparently an excellent place to put your sponsor's logo, too. What? You don't have a sponsor?

LOL If I did it should be Barkeeper's Friend since I'm always telling people about it!
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Old 29-04-2013, 08:43   #164
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Yes, great summary, Pelagic.

Has anyone mentioned restowing below, and securing abovedecks?

I'm thinking, for instance, of the increasing prevalence of locker doors being broken open by the contents, with the lightly built joinery on some stock boats. .
One the things that came out of reading "Left for Dead" the follow up book to the 79 Fastnet disaster is the author explaining how the chart dividers flew across the cabin and embedded in a bulkhead during one knock down and a battery travelled the length of the cabin in another. Perhaps a little extreme but shows the value of preparing.

When I look around ours I see the manufacturer fitted bolts to the chart table lid and stove etc and the previous owner bolts to close the washboards in from the inside. However, there is still more to be done. Extra bolts on the cockpit hatch with a water proof inner lid for example because water can reach the inside of the yacht from there. The under bunk storage lids also need strong hatches if we store food (tins) in there. Same in the forepeak, don't want the spare anchor or dive cylinder coming out.

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Old 30-04-2013, 20:25   #165
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An amazing article Evans! I only wished to have it when I started. It has really important information-potentially life saving.

We were caught in a big storm offshore and heard that "thump of waves" you mentioned:
"The exact point where one shifts to preservation and survival mode will obviously depend on the vessel (depending primarily on its size) and crew experience. But generally, as a reference point, when the waves are as high as the beam is wide, and they start to break - not just white cap crests but breaking jets that thump the hull – then you are nearing the line."

We maybe held the rhumb line a touch too long but managed to turn into the storm and used the engine like Goboatingnow mentioned so we could take the waves at a safer angle and have better control. " I would personally, if you have a reliable engine, consider its advantages. It can be used to to give the rudder more bite. Allow you to balance sails for the worst winds while retaining control on the troughs. Jogging under engine, with a scrap of mainsail is a very useful technique with modern boats. With as little as 1200 rpm it can be done for days."

Fatigue was a big problem since it lasted about 60 hours from start to finish & it was just my husband & I. I can't say enough about how this jogging technique made the storm manageable. It worked and allowed some rest. This was something we practiced before leaving and knew where our sail needed to be reefed to balance our boat.

Foolish Sailor-love your phrase 'Fear will keep one at the helm longer than prudence will.' So True!!
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