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Old 25-04-2013, 08:03   #76
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Too True!!

Having suffered thru them a few times in my early days before improvements in weather forecasting and communications, the lessons never seemed to stop.

Each storm passage seemed to have its own specific challenges and surprises.

Tactical decisions were often spoiled be the formation of fast moving Families of Lows

Even minor equipment damages became critical and worrisome in a storm

So as you say, the best you can plan for is the storm preparation of Boat and Crew

Patience and Humility to try and not ‘Best the Storm' is probably the greatest lesson I try to teach new crew, who often see the Storm as some kind of Test.

That's kind of what I was thinking about when I asked (seriously) if it's a bad idea to turn on the engine at the end of the storm. It SEEMS to me that it would make everything easier, give the crew a break -- and maybe there's another storm coming? Maybe you really need a break, a chance to throw some more food together, etc. (There's a theme there -- I think hungry really aggravates wet, cold and tired.)

One of the storms I was caught in apparently had a waterspout forming right over or very near me, since -- at anchor -- my boat turned 720 degrees (could anything else have caused that?). That is the weirdest experience I have had so far.

Of course all that rotation fouled the anchor, so then I had the great joy of dragging about 500 ft according to the chartplotter. It would reset and not hold, reset and not hold. Thank goodness I was anchored away from other boats and didn't hit anyone. We assumed that the chain wrapped itself around the shank. And, it was a line of squalls, so I wasn't done yet.

Of course I was by myself and -- just to make things more interesting -- no rudder. Someone came out and helped me between a line of squalls, and stayed with me through the next one, which wasn't as bad. We put out a second (weaker but better than nothing!) anchor, unfouled the first one, and put out more rode. But second squall I still dragged about 50 ft. (back to one anchor then).

Oh don't leave out the shallows not all that far away.

After the second squall SAR came out and safely hip-toed me to a safe dock but that was what I would call, with my shorter length of experience than yours, an "interesting morning."
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:04   #77
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

One comment I have not made . . . is that for relatively inexperienced people seasickness is a big underlying (sort of co-equal with fatigue) cause of bad decisions (like abandoning ship). The stress and fear present in storm conditions aggravates any slight tendency for seasickness.

Several above have commented they generally lean toward the passive techniques, especially with small crew. We also did when on Silk. On Hawk, we lean toward the fast techniques if our destination is somewhere near to downwind and the medium (forereaching) if the destination is more upwind. Both boat size and 'performance' seem to be an important factor in this decision. We have just gotten older, but also a bit more experienced and gained a bit more 'feel' so we know better when the boat is good and when we need to do something different (slow down).
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:08   #78
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

For newer sailors dealing with heavy weather for the first time, or first couple of times I think the importance of fatigue management, as discussed in Evans article and on this thread, can not be overemphasized.

Fear will keep one at the helm longer than prudence will.

You cant beat the weather, only manage your response to it.
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:22   #79
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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We would all have better fuel if we used bottom feeds from tanks rather the top feed actually


Dave
Well, I had a boat with one of those and had TERRIBLE problems with fuel clogs . This thread is fascinating. Thanks to all!
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:27   #80
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

Such a big set of tools in the box! I suppose the number one tool, as mentioned above, is to be aware of good sources for weather forecasts and the number one plan,- the safety of the crew. I'm definitely what would be called a "coastal cruiser" and I know what's big on the horizon for at least three days; therefore, I'm not in the big storms. My exposure is more typically the one hour events that can have gusts 50 to 70 along the approach of the squall line and then ease with the arrival of the rain. My plan at these times, as a coastal cruiser, is to stay off the coast! I've been prepared to heave to and go below as Boatman has favored, but I believe that he is speaking in a different context and as an offshore cruiser and exposed to weather events that are beyond the range of reliable forecasts. Nancie and I recently cruised aboard one of those huge liners with a passage from Tasmania to New Zealand with the wind remaining over 50 at about 20 degrees off the port bow for the whole passage. There was too much spray on the seventh deck above the water for us to share afternoon drinks on the verandah. We laughed at the thought that we would find ourselves down there struggling on our own little boat! Yes, we are "cockpit potatoes" and proud of it! I love the strategies and hearing of the plans; while recognizing that the plans would vary by boat and crew and location. My location for the big events will continue to be tucked away in a protected anchorage with little fetch.
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:29   #81
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

finally my top of tank fuel pick up has been modded to be a from the bottom with a hook so air bubble goes to top of tank instead of into fuel line....we see how much better that is for chop on our underlying swells...we may encounter on our trip some heavier weather, as it is time for that here.....we did have gusting to 71 kph winds--that is fine for an hour or two, and they do dissipate fairly rapidly.
appreciate evans for this article.
so far i have been able to sail thru the winds and storms i have been granted as i sail -- sometimes has been challenging, but i could not see passively waiting it out, thankyou--was safer to sail. i would not like to be caught out in a survival type storm....
i am appreciative of the weather prediction improvements i have seen over the ast few years.
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:30   #82
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
One comment I have not made . . . is that for relatively inexperienced people seasickness is a big underlying (sort of co-equal with fatigue) cause of bad decisions (like abandoning ship). The stress and fear present in storm conditions aggravates any slight tendency for seasickness.
.
A number of years ago I was on an 88 foot schooner that sailed out of Key West to the Dry Tortugas and back. On our first day we got into a bit of a blow. Nothing major F7 as I recall abut, most of us experienced some bit of seasickness including the cook. Myself I could not stand below more than 30 seconds but, on deck I was fine. I was ok sleeping in the bunk so I was able to get rest too. But, there was one fellow from India who was on board to see if he could gain some experience to help a friend sail his boat to Mexico. He basically stayed in his bunk for several days even after things settled down. Soon as we hit Key West he was off the boat. I doubt he ever got on another one. Luckily we had plenty of crew so he was not missed on the watches.
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:31   #83
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pirate Re: Storm Sailing Advice

Ok Raku... I'll try to be a bit more descriptive in my tactic's though this is not easy for someone lacking in writing skills...
My 1st bad storm was in April in the Biscay on my first foray out of the English Channel down to the Med (32ft boat)... a beautiful 6day window was slammed in my face 36hrs (past Ushant) into the crossing by an unpredicted (when we left) 60+kt gale from the SE... what happens is the sea's stack up.. you can't sail as the wind tries to knock you off the crest and down in a 35ft trough.. your sails are doing nothing but flog till you rise again and nearly get knocked over again... I dropped all sail and lashed the tiller and went below.
Being very close to the shipping lanes I put out an all ships to alert big ships I was in the area and not under command... gave my position and hunkered down... every so often a passing ship would call and check all was well... if memory serves me well I was navigation warning 97 that year... 48hrs later the sea's had eased enough to raise sail and continue to La Coruna..
Fast forward 16yrs... same area but December and in a Hurley 22... got hit by a NW gale that lasted over five weeks... totally different sea... 70kt winds and 10metre sea's with rollers... I discovered a Hurley heaves to best in those conditions with fully reefed main and no jib.. tiller lashed 1/2way and the main not centred so she feathers and falls off before she gets grabbed and thrown on the opposite tack... not nice as she gets swamped and thrown before recovering and pointing up again.. travelled 60 miles backwards (tacking to maintain drift) until close enough to the coast (3miles) to turn and run for Viveiro under engine... in neither case was the boat damaged..
Then there's the 60knot gale that I rode out W off Flores in a H37 Cherubini... 4 days of wind and rain so hard visibility was less than 100 metres... hankie for the jib and no main... again no damage and when things cleared it was unfurl and carry on to Horta...
What some of you folks need to understand is... there is NO set storm tactic's for every blow... each throws up different problems and you have to be flexible enough to cope... just throwing out a drogue coz you read it in a book could well be your ultimate act of stupidity.. it would have been utterly useless in the 1st example...
In 2nd the storms lasted 2 more weeks after I got into port... you want to sit out there that long... feel free..
Each one is a learning experience and what I've learnt is a simple fact... where oak tree crashes under stress... the bamboo bends.. then springs back up when the storm has past...
Horse's for course's...
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:34   #84
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

The greatest benefit of heavy weather experience is that you are less stressed about your boat and crew’s performance.

Being less stressed helps to prevent sea sickness, thus allowing you to actually rest when off watch…. resulting in less fatigue.

A useful tip to help relax seasick crew is to put a positive framework on progress and changes in the boat’s rhythm.
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Old 25-04-2013, 08:42   #85
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
The greatest benefit of heavy weather experience is that you are less stressed about your boat and crew’s performance.

Being less stressed helps to prevent sea sickness, thus allowing you to actually rest when off watch…. resulting in less fatigue.

A useful tip to help relax seasick crew is to put a positive framework on progress and changes in the boat’s rhythm.

Worst experience I had in my (NOT extensive) storm experience was having a fellow on the boat who knew NOTHING about storm management (he kept insisting that I move the boat closer to shore!) and then panicked over every decision made -- pretty clearly because he hadn't made it. While I'd be the first to say I was no expert in storm management, this wasn't exactly Hurricane Andrew, and I *did* know my boat well, particularly how wind affects her high freeboard.

Of course, as soon as he wanted to move us toward the shore, he was *completely* out of the loop as far as suggestions went. I knew he didn't have a clue, whereas I had a clue and a half ... not to mention that it was my boat.

In addition we had serious engine problems, so if we had gotten too close to shore we really might not have had any way to get ourselves away. If we had been able to continue on that trip, he would have been off the boat at the next available marina with bus fare to go home.
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Old 25-04-2013, 09:12   #86
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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...
Each one is a learning experience and what I've learnt is a simple fact... where oak tree crashes under stress... the bamboo bends.. then springs back up when the storm has past...
.
Well put.
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Old 25-04-2013, 11:36   #87
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
One comment I have not made . . . is that for relatively inexperienced people seasickness is a big underlying (sort of co-equal with fatigue) cause of bad decisions (like abandoning ship). The stress and fear present in storm conditions aggravates any slight tendency for seasickness.

Several above have commented they generally lean toward the passive techniques, especially with small crew. We also did when on Silk. On Hawk, we lean toward the fast techniques if our destination is somewhere near to downwind and the medium (forereaching) if the destination is more upwind. Both boat size and 'performance' seem to be an important factor in this decision. We have just gotten older, but also a bit more experienced and gained a bit more 'feel' so we know better when the boat is good and when we need to do something different (slow down).

Seasickness can completely wipe out a valued crew member and in fact become a medical emergency. IMO if there's any chance of seriously rough seas everyone should take some kind of preventative. I think it would be highly irresponsible of me as skipper to not do so.

Think you can go to the leeward side of the boat to barf in a bad storm? Probably a bad idea. If someone gets seasick it's going to be unpleasant for everyone. (By the way, my solution for that is to barf into the galley sink, which at least goes out the bottom of the boat).
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Old 25-04-2013, 11:39   #88
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
Such a big set of tools in the box! I suppose the number one tool, as mentioned above, is to be aware of good sources for weather forecasts and the number one plan,- the safety of the crew. I'm definitely what would be called a "coastal cruiser" and I know what's big on the horizon for at least three days; therefore, I'm not in the big storms. My exposure is more typically the one hour events that can have gusts 50 to 70 along the approach of the squall line and then ease with the arrival of the rain. My plan at these times, as a coastal cruiser, is to stay off the coast! I've been prepared to heave to and go below as Boatman has favored, but I believe that he is speaking in a different context and as an offshore cruiser and exposed to weather events that are beyond the range of reliable forecasts. Nancie and I recently cruised aboard one of those huge liners with a passage from Tasmania to New Zealand with the wind remaining over 50 at about 20 degrees off the port bow for the whole passage. There was too much spray on the seventh deck above the water for us to share afternoon drinks on the verandah. We laughed at the thought that we would find ourselves down there struggling on our own little boat! Yes, we are "cockpit potatoes" and proud of it! I love the strategies and hearing of the plans; while recognizing that the plans would vary by boat and crew and location. My location for the big events will continue to be tucked away in a protected anchorage with little fetch.

I'm a coastal cruiser too, but coastal cruisers sail all the time to Key West and/or the Tortugas where I am. In addition, I have personally seen vicious storms pop up, unpredicted. Florida is famous for them; Tampa is the lightning capitol of the country partly because of that, but they happen offshore as well (don't have to be far offshore).

I have said this before and will say it again (and other more experienced people have agreed with me). It can happen.
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Old 25-04-2013, 11:42   #89
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

"What some of you folks need to understand is... there is NO set storm tactic's for every blow..."


In fairness, a number of people have said this. That's why the discussion has been so valuable. You hear what worked here, what worked there, you start to consider *your* boat and what might work best for it under varying circumstances. It's very helpful to hear everyone's point of view.
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Old 25-04-2013, 12:19   #90
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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(By the way, my solution for that is to barf into the galley sink, which at least goes out the bottom of the boat).
What do you do when both kids are sick at the same time, oh and the dog too been there, what a mess, oh and it doesn't go down the plug hole.

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