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Old 24-04-2013, 04:09   #31
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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You also see this in the good old Karori rip. Sometimes it heaps up pretty bad even at slack without any real flow. The best reason I can think of is a subsea current being thrown up at this point, however I have read something about internal waves that might also explain it somehow.
Yes, that's the general region where my musings on vertical eddies started to coalesce...

internal Waves: Yeah, that's an intriguing one, still haven't quite got my head around it (it's essentially a totally sub-surface temperature/density wave, no? ie bounded by an interface between radically different temps and/or salinities?)

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There is a phenomena called a wave front? where the waves are moving about the same speed as the weather system or front. It can cause the waves to rapidly increase in size much faster than the normal wind/fetch/time graphs show. ....
Actually yes, now that you come to mention it, I have heard that phenomenon documented, I think under the provisional label of "dynamic fetch". It makes good sense. And it does seem to happen in practice, which is the icing on the cake...


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I think the lower precursor waves move slower, and dissipate faster, almost being left behind if the system is moving real fast. At other times like a slow moving front or squall the wind is almost stationary and the small precursor waves are a good indication that you need to reef and do it fast.
Now on this one, I do have the scars.
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Old 24-04-2013, 04:14   #32
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

SnowP (again!)

You mean, this Karori Rip?

(The one about which the official NZ Pilot, whose target audience is shipping, not boats, used to gravely say "Prayer may be of assistance")
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Old 24-04-2013, 04:24   #33
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Great article , Evans. A real concise run through the options. I particularly agree with your comments on the difficulty of heaving too , in a survival storm. I think many people think it works cause they tried it in heavy weather. But it doesn't work well at all in survival conditions , especially confused sea states.

I had one reservation , the comments about seeking harbour etc. I would caution anyone about approaching the shore ( lee otherwise ) in wild sea conditions. Deep water is your friend ( unless of course all you want to do is get within helicopter range !!)

I think some of the challenging conditions ate when one wave train gets overlaid by another from a different direction. The worst I've seen had quite big waves virtually running across the troughs of the larger train.

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.

As others have said, stay away from seamounts or any rising underwater features

Dave
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Old 24-04-2013, 04:56   #34
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

If you have plenty of warning of bad weather (which you quite often do, in mid ocean), one thing the experienced guys on board tend to do once they've checked over the rig, stowage, cleaned the fuel filters etc, is to get their head down and put some serious sleep in the bank.

I remember being in the early stages of doing exactly that when the youngest crew member climbed into my bunk and asked me if I was awake, the way six year olds do...

He wanted to ask if I wanted a game of chess.

I explained that I needed to get some sleep, and I didn't know how to play chess very well.

"Oh that's OK" he answered brightly (it was 0300, FFS!)

"I know how to play quite well" (which was an understatement, he was a prodigy)

"I'll teach you!"
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Old 24-04-2013, 05:14   #35
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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That's an interesting story, SnowP, about the Bluff to Hobart gig.

Do you think there might have been a counter-flowing ocean current to cause the swell to steepen so seriously, off soundings? It's great being able to get satellite data on this stuff these days, no?

(Or, thinking of our recent musings.... any sudden changes in seafloor topology?)
Just looked on google earth, It only shows one seamount, but it's pretty vague. would be keen to see a proper chart. I can't remember the exact location but It don't think sea floor was a factor. The waves remained nasty all night. We had the drogue out and I remember it a rather unpleasant and very wet night hand steering while frequently underwater with the drogue ripping out of every wave until we chucked out a warp as well.

I think Pelagic might have hit the nail on the head.
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Offshore: In the open ocean, tidal currents are manifested as rotary currents, which are continually changing direction in a consistent manner. [COLOR="Navy"]Predicting when these tidal currents will act against prevailing wind and sea, will help to alert yacht crew of increased danger from larger breaking cross-seas.
Also found this here, B. Fornberg and B.S. White "Using a mathematical model, they demonstrate that ocean currents or large fields of random eddies and vortices can sporadically concentrate a steady ocean swell to create unusually large waves. The current or eddy field acts like an optical lens to focus the wave action..."

I have often noticed slight orbital currents in the southern ocean, on the ships we used to get set one way, and then the other, maybe eddies 150-300 miles across? But our speed (19+ knots) made it hard to really notice them much. Ocean going tugs would really notice this as pelagic says.

On Blizzard while crossing to South America when we did the last 1000 miles by sextant we really noticed the same effect putting our DR out.

So maybe on the trip to bluff we crossed over into a back eddy running against us at the same time as the wind and waves were also increasing. It wouldn't need to be flowing fast, less than 0.5 of a knot could still significantly change the sea state.
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Old 24-04-2013, 05:28   #36
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Ok I have read Evans article a couple of times. Like a lot of readers on CF I read a lot on storm techniques. I have read 'Storm Tactics' by the Pardeys, 'Rescue in the Pacific' by Tony Farrington (a true Force 12 storm), Drag Device Database and 'Storm Handling at Sea' by Hal Roth. I think Evans article is in serious conflict in a number of areas and it generally makes me feel uncomfortable.

Rather than spend hours debating the issue I will simply make a few points to consider; Evan says 'hove-to with bow drag device is a tricky technique with relatively high failure rate' . All the other book data would not agree with Evan. And 'once your eyes are night adapted you can see surprisingly well at night' Really? Finally I don't think he appreciates the genuine risk of crew fatigue?
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Old 24-04-2013, 05:38   #37
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

For the OP, sorry we have gotten carried away talking about details (It happens when me and Andrew end up on the same thread), but here are some of my thoughts from a while ago. Part 1 and part 2 and I haven't got around to part 3

Andrew take note of the chess game in the video in part one. I can't remember who won!

I think the biggest danger in a strong seaworthy vessel is actually personal injury, rather than sinking. To that end comfortable helmets and secure bunks with retaining straps as well as leecloths are good idea. I often like to have my head inside a quarter berth.

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You mean, this Karori Rip?

(The one about which the official NZ Pilot, whose target audience is shipping, not boats, used to gravely say "Prayer may be of assistance")
Yep. That photo made me smile, I used to work on the first Straitsman.

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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.
Often wondered about trying this, it goes against the grain for yachties but it's standard practice on ships and fishing boats. I remember one of the fastnet boats doing more or less this. From memory it was a french She 30?
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Old 24-04-2013, 05:42   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavefromNZ
Ok I have read Evans article a couple of times. Like a lot of readers on CF I read a lot on storm techniques. I have read 'Storm Tactics' by the Pardeys, 'Rescue in the Pacific' by Tony Farrington (a true Force 12 storm), Drag Device Database and 'Storm Handling at Sea' by Hal Roth. I think Evans article is in serious conflict in a number of areas and it generally makes me feel uncomfortable.

Rather than spend hours debating the issue I will simply make a few points to consider; Evan says 'hove-to with bow drag device is a tricky technique with relatively high failure rate' . All the other book data would not support this. And 'once your eyes are night adapted you can see surprisingly well at night' Really? Finally I don't think he appreciates the genuine risk of crew fatigue?
I don't know exactly where you think he's wrong and you do a disservice to us by not discussing that.

In my experience with modern boats ,Evans is virtually bang on. I don't hold much for the pardys their boat is very different to modern vessels. Heaving to is not a survival mechanism in my opinion.

I personally have no time for big sea anchors especially off the bow. The one time it was tried , there was enormous loads on the forward attachment points , which ate inevitably simple cleats on most boats. Furthermore continuous chafe meant trips to the bow on truly terrible conditions No sir never again

For modern boats some form of active / semi active activity is required. I like Evans found running off under warps or small drag devices very effective , so effective the autopilot could be used in quite appalling sea states Helm time is what causes fatigue.

Agree completely about stacking up the zzzz , also crew dynamic and hence leadership plays a truly enormous part in a successful outcome


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Old 24-04-2013, 06:00   #39
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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And 'once your eyes are night adapted you can see surprisingly well at night' Really?
I'm not going to argue the other points, but Evans is right about this. Given a half hour or more to adapt, most people see quite well in the dark. If it is pelting down rain and the sea spray is heavy then no, you can't see.

But Evans notes this.

I've been out at night in africa, the rockies, new zealand and off-shore at sea. If you don't have ambient lighting, your eyes will adapt. Any flashes of white light will destroy your night sight.

ONe way to preserve it it to close one eye whenever you think you will be hit by white light.

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Old 24-04-2013, 06:06   #40
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

Starzinger, Thank you for the article. That was generous of you to share it with us as I think you make a living selling it.

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I don't know exactly where you think he's wrong and you do a disservice to us by not discussing that.

In my experience with modern boats ,Evans is virtually bang on. I don't hold much for the pardys their boat is very different to modern vessels. Heaving to is not a survival mechanism in my opinion.

I personally have no time for big sea anchors especially off the bow. The one time it was tried , there was enormous loads on the forward attachment points , which ate inevitably simple cleats on most boats. Furthermore continuous chafe meant trips to the bow on truly terrible conditions No sir never again

For modern boats some form of active / semi active activity is required. I like Evans found running off under warps or small drag devices very effective , so effective the autopilot could be used in quite appalling sea states Helm time is what causes fatigue.

Agree completely about stacking up the zzzz , also crew dynamic and hence leadership plays a truly enormous part in a successful outcome


Dave
+1

Don't forget about low grade sea sickness also.
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Old 24-04-2013, 06:44   #41
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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re: <<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. >>

Often wondered about trying this, it goes against the grain for yachties but it's standard practice on ships and fishing boats. I remember one of the fastnet boats doing more or less this. From memory it was a french She 30?
That rings a bell, but the first time I heard of it was when I first developed an interest in sailing, and read a SeaSpray article by Peter Smith on a bad blow they got caught in on the Wairarapa Coast, delivering a new Cav 32. Must have been early 70s.
They're a legendary heavy weather boat, even now... and incidentally he was the builder.

It was pretty willing, like approaching triple figures of knots (more common back then, in this part of the world), and the negative dynamic wind pressure in the lee of the steeper waves was making their ears pop something wicked, to the point where it had ripped the main hatch off the boat, presumably last seen heading for Kansas...

The technique which saved them was jogging as described, because the troughs were deep and they were intermittently effectively becalmed, given that they could only wear a tiny scrap of sail for when they were on top. They eventually managed to limp into Castlepoint, and as an indication of how desperate they felt their situation to be, they shot the entrance to the lagoon.

Not for the fainthearted, especially with a fixed deep keel.


I've always thought of that whenever I've been involved in specifying fuel systems for sailing boats: to me, there's no such thing as fuel which is too clean. It should sparkle like fine Scotch. They were possibly lucky the boat was brand spankers, because in those days fuel installations tended to be a bit less rigorous.
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Old 24-04-2013, 06:52   #42
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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I think this is worth discussing . . . .

I have read 'Storm Tactics' by the Pardeys,

The Pardey's believe in 'the magic bullet', the one technique that will work the best in all situations and for all boats. I do not believe in the 'magic bullet'. Just from direct first hand experience, the two boats we have sailed around the world have behaved very differently and responded better to different techniques. We have our own database of our other people's experiences with deploying para-anchors, and the success to failure rate is about 1:10. I agree there are some successes (and those have tended to be with 'non-mainstream' vessel designs) but there are more failures. Just from direct experience, the best tactic in the 'open ocean' is unlikely to be the best tactic in the gulf stream or the English channel, and the Pardey's don't address this.

You should also be aware that the pardey's have only use the para-anchor technique 'in anger' twice on their own boats, and both times on the prior smaller boat. They did NOT use it in the bigger boat when in their biggest storm to the SW of Cape Horn, they use forereaching then. This was during one of the times we were in Patagonia, and we discussed it with them after they made landfall (over a bottle of nice red wine in Puerto Montt).

One other thing to realize about the Pardey's para-anchor technique is that it is very different than what most everyone else writes about when discussing para-anchors. The Pardey's suggest a much smaller para-anchor on a bridle, while almost everyone else is talking about a much bigger one over the bow. So lumping the 'pardey approach' in with other discussions of para-anchors is a bit of apples and oranges.

The Pardey's are in a small minority in the current blue water cruising community with respect to the para-anchor subject. Their two boats were of similar general (non-'mainstream') design and both well suited to heaving-to and not so well suited any of the more active techniques (inefficient barn door rudder, and very wide l/b rtio)

I do agree that heaving to is a useful technique (for some boats) in (some) heavy weather.

'Rescue in the Pacific' by Tony Farrington (a true Force 12 storm),

I know A LOT about this storm. We were in the Pacific that season, and had left NZ just ahead of this fleet (going to New Cal rather than Tonga). We had two close friends in it, and listened to them on the radio thru it. Tony's book is excellent but it is also flawed in many ways. One major difficulty in analyzing it is that the true survival winds were very compact, and you simply can't compare the experience of the boats in that small extreme wind band with those outside it. Tony makes the mistake of treating them as apples to apples.

Drag Device Database

Actually I am not sure that what I have written is very inconsistent with the drag devices database, if you delve into the facts of each case and ignore the biased summary that Shane lays on top. Victor specifically focuses only on the drag techniques and does not discuss the faster techniques. On the drag techniques he has a personal preference for para-achors and this comes thru in his summaries and in his editing of the case examples. But the actual specific details of the cases are in fact pretty consistent with what I have written.

Like the Pardey's, Victors personal experiences were on a 'niche vessel', a 30' trimaran and that has strongly colored his perspective.

Victor and the Pardey's philosophies were both developed back in the 70's when boats were much different. We also know quite a bit more now. Just for example, both of them have previously claimed there was no known case of boats on para-anchors that have been rolled*, but that's no longer true as there are several well documented cases now. As there are more cases of bend rudders, and para-anchor rodes around props and keels, and chafed thru para-anchor rodes (note Dashew's contribution on the heat melting developed in para-anchor rodes when cycled under high load), etc, etc. We just know much more now.

* I might comment this is also true of series drogues. Some people who claimed they were the 'magic bullet' have also been proven wrong, as there is now at least one well documented case where a boat on series drogues have been rolled. But, I might note, way way fewer troublesome cases than on para-anchors.

and 'Storm Handling at Sea' by Hal Roth.

Hal was a good friend and we reviewed drafts of his book. Hal and I pretty much agreed on all this. But I have not looked at his book in years so can't comment on specific points. Hal did not like para-anchors, but he was not as blunt about them in the book as he was in person.

I think Evans article is in serious conflict in a number of areas and it generally makes me feel uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable may be a good place to be. It's a difficult topic to get your hands around for many reasons (boats are different, storms are different, crews have different strengths and weaknesses, and real survival situations are very rare) If you work at trying to understand and resolve that discomfort you may learn a lot. I would add Coles and Dashew into the four you discuss above.

All these authors have valid experiences and perspectives, colored by their personal experiences, as do we. If you try to understand the consistencies and differences in these authors writings you will have leaned about as much as you can from the written word about this.

I will just comment that I think our two personal boat, which obviously can't but color our perspective, have been the most 'mainstream' of any of these authors. I also think we have the most current and largest analytical data on the topic.

Finally, I greatly respect all these folks. It probably sounds like I am dissing them, and I don't mean that at all. Larry in particular I respect tremendously. I simply believe some of their thoughts to be out of data and not the current best practice understanding for 'mainstream' cruising boats today.

Evan (by the way my first name has an "s" on the end of it) says 'hove-to with bow drag device is a tricky technique with relatively high failure rate' . All the other book data would not agree with Evan.

I am not aware of any book with any real statistical data on this. If you could point them out I would be quite interested. The Pardey's are trying to 'sell' one particular magic bullet and just ignore all the cases where the para-anchor fails. We have a good friend who wrote them about a failed situation and they just wrote back in red ink on the margin 'well you must have been doing it wrong then'. We personally have collected 300 cases, and as I said the success rate is about 1:10. Please note I am not saying it CAN'T work, only that it has proven tricky with in fact a high failure rate.

And 'once your eyes are night adapted you can see surprisingly well at night' Really?

Yes, really. You do know, just for example, that the Volvo boats and the G-class cats have human helmsmen steering at 20-40kts thru the night in the southern ocean?

Finally I don't think he appreciates the genuine risk of crew fatigue

Can you tell me why do you think that? In fact I think fatigue is one of the main root causes behind many bad decisions at sea.

This is good and useful feedback for my draft. Your comment here suggests that perhaps I should say more about this in the 'common mistakes' and 'leadership' section. You will note that I did describe this as one of the key trigger factors when a vessel should shift to a slower technique.

Where the fatigue limit is will differ very greatly by crew. Obviously more crew will (usually) greatly reduce this risk. But also, different people have vastly different fatigue limits. Some run out of steam after 2 hours on the helm, while others have steered for 3 days straight.
............
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Old 24-04-2013, 06:53   #43
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We would all have better fuel if we used bottom feeds from tanks rather the top feed actually


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Old 24-04-2013, 07:09   #44
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Heavy Weather and survival weather techniques are subjects close to my heart. I've seen at first hands boats lost because of incorrect decisions, crew fatigue , poor leadership and the resulting event cascade.

again I would back Evans in his summary. So would people like Steve Dashew. In general active measures ( or near active types) are the only reliable way of getting through such weather. Again I think too many people seek a " fit and forget" approach to such conditions, seeking a " thing" that's fixes the issue. There is a " thing" , its you! .

Personally in all cases unless constrained by searoom, I run downwind, at an angle to the storm to try and leave the storm area. You obviously have to be careful not just to run with it , but of course storms like these are travelling way faster then you.

I also find the most dangerous times is after the event , often the seas are still huge, the wind can be flukey and the crew get inattentive.

Any technique no matter what that requires trips to the bow are madness in my view. At least with drogues and warps yiu can manage them from the cockpit

I favour just towing long warps. ( sometimes with weights on the end ) over series drogues. Drogues are rather like a parachute sea anchor just off the stern and overly control the boat. Next time you in a big sea , toss out a loop of 400 foot line behind you( well secured) and just marvel the force on it.


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Old 24-04-2013, 07:09   #45
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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(1) Evan says 'hove-to with bow drag device is a tricky technique with relatively high failure rate' . All the other book data would not agree with Evan.

(2) And 'once your eyes are night adapted you can see surprisingly well at night' Really?...
I think you misunderstand him on the first point. I recall hardly any instances in the sources your mention, and certainly not many, of people using a drag device while hove to. I think you must have different understanding from Evans of what "hove to" means: if your re-read this section again, paying attention to the paragraph preceding, he's talking about heaving to with a backed headsail, and then discusses adding a drag device into that mix.

Even the Pardeys, who are often considered the poster children for heaving to with a sea anchor, are clarified in the DDDB as saying that in really strong winds, they do not carry any sail; even when they do, it's a steadying (ie riding) sail carried aft, so IMO they're not in any conventional sense hove to.

I'm not trying to start a quibblefest about terminology, but if you criticise someone's recommendations, you need to make sure you are dealing with the message as sent, rather than as received.

On the second point, I won't take issue with your point because I don't understand what you're trying to say, but here's my take on it:

I don't ever recall more than a small handful of times having difficulty seeing the waves at night, once it got bad enough that there was white water in plenty.

Except when some careless idiot opened the hatch without extinguishing the cabin lights, or worse still, shone a torch at me.
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