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Old 23-04-2013, 10:17   #1
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Storm Sailing Advice

Hey, I'm a small boat (really small) racer, but I'd like to get into around-the-world cruising. What's everyone's best advice, or places to get advice about sailing through storms. I understand the basics, upwind, downwind, etc. I just have no idea what I'd do in the middle of the ocean when a storm happens. Everything from all the gear you need to what to prepare for, to what kind of watches should be in rotation would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 23-04-2013, 10:30   #2
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

Steve Dashew has a good book on the subject, even though the title is kinda lame and the editing was on the cheap. I think its called Surviving the Storm. Its available on Dashews website,
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Old 23-04-2013, 10:33   #3
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

I am just writing an article on this . . . see survival sailing

It's a working draft - content is all there but it has not had its clean up line editing yet.
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Old 23-04-2013, 10:50   #4
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I am just writing an article on this . . . see survival sailing

It's a working draft - content is all there but it has not had its clean up line editing yet.
Evans, thank for this. An excellent treatment of the material. Short and to the point.

To the OP - the classic piece of literature on this is HEAVY WEATHER SAILING, by Peter Bruce.
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:08   #5
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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I am just writing an article on this . . . see survival sailing

It's a working draft - content is all there but it has not had its clean up line editing yet.

Starzinger, I'm a writer, and I think I know an excellent article when I see one, and that one really, truly is.

As some here know, storm safety has been something on my mind this year. I've learned enough about sailing to end up in such a situation. I've read books, discussed with other sailors, discussed here, and have had some minor experience, but as you know, there's always stuff left to learn, and for people in my shoes, about to broaden their sailing horizons, a LOT of stuff left to learn.

I've saved that article. i'll be studying that article. I'll be breaking it into sections and considering if there's anything in my actual experience I can connect to it (I spotted several, not nearly as much as many people here, but still useful for me).

You've managed to write an article that will be helpful to sailors with varying levels of experience, and that's a real accomplishment IMO.

Please keep us posted. You know, that article is $alable.
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:41   #6
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Lin & Larry Pardeys books and articles. Particularly for those who think they may prefer long distance voyaging to coastal cruising.

Also Adlard Coles Heavy Weather Sailing.
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:46   #7
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

Great article, estarzinger.

Question. How does nightfall and darkness affect the "active" tactics? Are these tactics possible without some light from the moon or onboard spotlight that will illuminate the waves that one is trying to steer around?

Steve
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Old 23-04-2013, 12:23   #8
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

I second Lin and Larry Pardey's books. They certainly make you think again even if you don't see yourself sailing quite so basic.
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Old 23-04-2013, 16:52   #9
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Great article, estarzinger.

Question. How does nightfall and darkness affect the "active" tactics? Are these tactics possible without some light from the moon or onboard spotlight that will illuminate the waves that one is trying to steer around?

Steve
That's an excellent question - I don't think I have ever seen it discussed. I will have to think about it a bit more, but my immediate reaction is

When your eyes are night adapted you can see surprisingly well at night even in the heavy storm cloud conditions. The white crests are usually quite visible. The helmsman does want to be very careful to not lose their night adaption, as it takes about 45 minutes to get it back.

If you are following one of the run-off options it helps to have someone looking aft to call the waves for the helmsman.

However, in really heavy driving rain at night its sometimes impossible to see anything at all. It is useful to have someone calling the wind angle off the instruments in that sort of rain. Fortunately that really heavy driving rain is 'usually' only in bands and comes and goes. But you are still steering pretty blind and might want to move to one of the slower tactics.
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Old 23-04-2013, 17:44   #10
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Originally Posted by garrettt View Post
Hey, I'm a small boat (really small) racer, but I'd like to get into around-the-world cruising. What's everyone's best advice, or places to get advice about sailing through storms. I understand the basics, upwind, downwind, etc. I just have no idea what I'd do in the middle of the ocean when a storm happens. Everything from all the gear you need to what to prepare for, to what kind of watches should be in rotation would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
There is a huge difference to Day Sailing and long distance cruising. There are lots of books on the subject and plenty of good courses you can do.

Watch rotation varies on the amount of crew. I say three people, four hours on four hours off- assuming they know what they are doing.

The gear you take depends on your bank account. But minimum, of a radio, raft,ebirb,flares, lifejackets, harnesses etc.

You need to learn how to Reef sails. Important. Drouges and seabrakes can be handy.

Its a good idea to get some coastal sailing in first. Especially in stiff breezes -say 20 knots. And preferably with an experience person on board. Then work your way up from there.

There are many forums with skippers looking for crew. It would be smart to get a few voyages as a crew first to get some experience offshore.
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Old 23-04-2013, 17:47   #11
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Great article, estarzinger.

Question. How does nightfall and darkness affect the "active" tactics? Are these tactics possible without some light from the moon or onboard spotlight that will illuminate the waves that one is trying to steer around?

Steve
Rarely are they possible. Night time in a storm is a lot scarier than daytime as you cant see the monsters coming and you never know what the next wave is doing.

Only on the brightest moon do you really have a chance to know what the sea is going to bring.
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Old 23-04-2013, 18:45   #12
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...
However, in really heavy driving rain at night its sometimes impossible to see anything at all. It is useful to have someone calling the wind angle off the instruments in that sort of rain. Fortunately that really heavy driving rain is 'usually' only in bands and comes and goes. But you are still steering pretty blind and might want to move to one of the slower tactics.
Also...did it by sound once. At night hard rain offshore pitch black zero viz big winds and seas. Primary wave pattern was large (25-30') but not breaking so not really a problem, but we had another pattern generated by a second low which would occassionally come roaring in breaking heavily from almost dead abeam (not good) to starboard. We could not see them but we could hear them. So when it got close we would turn hard to starboard and point the bow at the sound. Crash boom splash the wave would roll under us (mostly). Often significant water on deck but manageable. Then as we started to drop on the other side quickly spin her back on course. Fourtunately the timing worked out and we never got caught badly broadside by the primary pattern.

The analogy we came up with was that it was like driving a bus from the backseat with all the curtains drawn.

Fortunately both patterns stayed pretty regular so we could develop a pattern at the helm

Looking back it was surprisigly manageable, but if conditions had worsened Im not sure what our tactic would have been given the crossing wave patterns.
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Old 23-04-2013, 19:20   #13
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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Lin & Larry Pardeys books and articles. Particularly for those who think they may prefer long distance voyaging to coastal cruising.
In terms of current best practices, I think that Evans' article, posted in this thread, is a better option for larger, fin-keeled boats than the Pardey's approach, which gears toward smaller full-keeled boats.
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Old 23-04-2013, 19:36   #14
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

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In terms of current best practices, I think that Evans' article, posted in this thread, is a better option for larger, fin-keeled boats than the Pardey's approach, which gears toward smaller full-keeled boats.

What I found so remarkable about his article was that as I read it i compared my fin-keel, bow-tender boat and a friend's full keel Cape Dory, and could see how each approach might be considered on each boat. Not to the level that people here who have sailed for decades under a huge variety of conditions --

but enough that I felt I had new options should I get "caught" out there.

I found the Pardeys book explained how different strategies might affect different boats also, including multi-hulls, but this article is more efficient. I'll end up printing it out and laminating it, and putting it in a notebook I keep. If I need that information, I won't want to just rely on memory!
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Old 23-04-2013, 19:53   #15
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Re: Storm Sailing Advice

What a great thread. Thanks to all and special thanks to Evans for a very well written article.
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