Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 03-07-2016, 06:28   #1
Registered User
 
thomm225's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hampton Roads
Boat: 1974 Bristol 27
Posts: 3,469
Turning Around (due to storms)

Why is it so hard for some of us to turn around when we can see the storms all around.

Left work early Friday to sail up the Chesapeake Bay. (boat is all loaded up) The prediction was for afternoon thunderstorms like it is most days here lately.

One squall passed to the North just before leaving the slip so I'm thinking it's all good.

As I'm heading out the creek, I can see two more one maybe 20 miles North but another on my latitude headed East into my path. I'm considering sailing through it but am hearing these storms are dumping 6 inches of rain per hour plus I have a bridge to my starboard side stretching 17 miles so if the wind is westerly at all I could get blown into it.

Engine is a 5 hp outboard and I have only one set of reef points on my mainsail.

The view North was classic summer storm weather. Very dark sky but the sun was still out so the water was lit up. Plus lightning bolts here and there. I could see one sail maybe 5-6 miles out so I'm thinking if he can..........so I continue but when I look again the sail is gone blocked by clouds. 3 other sailboats are coming in

Long story short I turned around at the mouth of Little Creek and went back to my slip

The storms hit minutes later. They lasted a couple hours with the highest wind gusts recorded by a buoy I would have passed near the bridge of around 48 knots NNW which could have pushed me into the bridge. I would have been at the buoy at about the time it hit. The buoy being near the first Island
__________________

__________________
thomm225 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 07:24   #2
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Long Beach, CA
Boat: Tayana Vancouver 42
Posts: 1,854
Turning Around (due to storms)

Thomm25, sounds like you made a good decision for you, your boat and Chesapeake Bay conditions.

Yes, we have an easier time deciding to wait for better weather at the dock but often have a hard time turning back once we've started out. I guess it is the macho thing or the idea that real sailors should be able to handle it.

If you had to handle those conditions you would probably have coped just fine. But you had the wisdom to avoid a situation that would put unnecessary stress on your boat and on you. Smart move!


S/V B'Shert
__________________

__________________
Tayana42 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 07:35   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,062
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Good on ya. One aspect of good seamanship having is good judgment and the foresight to avoid problems.
__________________
SailFastTri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 07:35   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,062
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

I would add -- a schedule is one of the most dangerous things on a boat.
__________________
SailFastTri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 08:07   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sailing the Caribbean
Boat: Switch 51
Posts: 1,498
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

You could have just anchored for 20 minutes or so...
__________________
SVNeko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 08:24   #6
Registered User
 
thomm225's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hampton Roads
Boat: 1974 Bristol 27
Posts: 3,469
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
You could have just anchored for 20 minutes or so...
That is what my 12 years of racing beach cats in Florida was telling me also, but this isn't Florida.

This is 36.55N, 76.11N where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

These storms lasted several hours with winds 30-48 knots, lightning, and multiple obstacles if you were sailing in the Bay.

I was heading to the Eastern Shore (Kiptopeke) before I turned around
Strong storms produce flooding, damage | Eastern Shore Flooding | photoMojo | WAVY.COM

Also I may not have described the storms properly. They were most probably attached to a front of some sort since we had the wind change from SSW to NNE a few hours later.

Saturday's early sail was quite rough with closely spaced, steep 5' waves in the bay from the North. Most of us just reached along the coast of the bay after beating a ways out of the creek and back to get our sailing in.

Many of the larger boats (40'-55') just ran their jibs and were sailing quite fast....
__________________
thomm225 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 09:26   #7
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,576
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
Good on ya. One aspect of good seamanship having is good judgment and the foresight to avoid problems.
Prudent seamanship, which you exhibited, lets you sail again on better days in the future. Thinking you are smarter than nature'll kill ya.
__________________
Can't sleep? Read www.alchemy2009.blogspot.com for fast relief. Can't read? Avoid www.volumesofsalt.blogspot.com, because it's just personal reviews of sea books.
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 09:45   #8
Registered User
 
austinrick's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Boat: Bayfield 29C
Posts: 80
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
You could have just anchored for 20 minutes or so...

I think I'd rather be in my slip than anchored against winds (and waves) upwards of 50 kts.

Good call, OP.
__________________
Rick Willis
Williamsburg, VA
Bayfield 29 - s/v Puffin
austinrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 09:48   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maine
Posts: 27
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

At least you had a good second choice. Head for the Cutty Sark.
__________________
www.sailopo.com
Gareth Hughes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 09:52   #10
Registered User

Join Date: May 2016
Location: Gunkholing along the Chesapeake Bay
Boat: 81 Hunter Cherubini 27
Posts: 298
Images: 3
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Sailed that piece of water years ago, only I was on the other side of the bridge tunnel (the Outside, i.e. the Atlantic) in similiar conditions on a 27' Columbia. Great day of sailing, mild 10-knot winds and was heading back to my slip in Willoughby. About 3 miles from the entrance I can see a storm gathering way off in the northwest with conditions just as you described. Winds were also SSE and increasing. Realized I needed to make a run into the Ches or I'd be caught outside for the night or have to head down to Rudi Inlet. Well, made the bridge tunnel and was just past Little Creek when the wind started shifting to the north and waves picked up to 3+ feet. Knowing it was going to get worse fast, did a quick turn about and headed into Little Creek on the Jib. Luckily I was still active USN at the time so put in at the Naval Base marina. Ended up spending 4-days there. It has always amazed me how fast the Ches Bay can go from good weather to "It wants to kill me" weather. ;-)
__________________
Teknishn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 09:55   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Arnold MD
Boat: Cape Dory 300 MS 30'
Posts: 22
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

The reason turning around is so hard is that it feels like being a quitter, but when you have experienced truly wild conditions you realize how stupid it is to venture into storms when you have a choice - (think BOUNTY in Oct. 2012 and EL FARO in Oct. 2015). I've been through two typhoons aboard U.S. Navy vessels and the 1960 Newport-Bermuda race and NEVER would risk ship or crew by knowingly venturing into a storm. Discretion is the better part of valor, as Shakespeare reminds us. Captain Fred
__________________
Captain Fred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 10:01   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Fort Monroe, Phoebus/ Hampton, VA
Boat: Catalina 30mkI trbs
Posts: 14
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

I have a log book full of similar stories (some from ourselves, and most from C-Bay sailors we've met)- The Bay, as beautiful as it is, can be treacherous. We spent 9 hours making passage across from Willoughby Bay to Cape Charles, a trip that should have taken 4 hours under sail, dodging the pop-up squalls and T-storms on July 4th, several years ago.Great good weather leaving,but we were prudent that day and had a shore-buddy watching the radar, and our on-board radar was set to its distance limit to track as well. Sure enough, right around mid-day as the heat rose, so did the light show, winds picked up and we tacked for hours to avoid the worst, got soaked in the cockpit in our slickers, and eventually motoring up and joining a convoy of battered smaller boats into the Cape Charles Bay Creek Marina.To a man the answer to the question "Why not turn back?" was the same- holiday weekend, only time available to sail, it looked good when we left, etc...
The Southern Chesapeake can be a challenge even if you stay away from the 17 miles of the C-Bay Bridge Tunnel because of the increased commercial and military traffic, anchored fisherman and the weekend yahoo's in their SUV-boats, who fervently believe bigger is safer and "Bigger Means Etiquette and Safety Rules don't apply To Me". More than once that old adage "Don't Sail on a Deadline" has been our decision when deciding to depart the safety and security of our dock. We've been there, done that, have the dock-rash and still-damp rain gear, as well as a few torn sail covers and frayed nerves to show. if you need to get there fast, drive...
Fair Winds!
__________________
WaterfrontcplUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 10:20   #13
Registered User
 
thomm225's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hampton Roads
Boat: 1974 Bristol 27
Posts: 3,469
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Hughes View Post
At least you had a good second choice. Head for the Cutty Sark.
Good call!

They are over there now (1100 when we were at the boat) in the open air section probably having Bloody Marys.

It's 65 degrees now quite a bit different than Friday's 87-88 degrees.
__________________
thomm225 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 10:51   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Norfolk, Va
Boat: 83 Tanzer 27
Posts: 39
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

Thom,

Good choice, I also wanted to go out (Willoughby) in my 27 Tanzer but have elected to go Monday instead.

Pilots say a good landing is one you walk away from, a great landing is where you can use the plane again. Sorta the same thing.

See ya out there,

Ken
__________________
Our Tyme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2016, 11:00   #15
Registered User
 
Ndavies's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: On the Ocean
Boat: Hunter 42 Passage
Posts: 164
Re: Turning Around (due to storms)

First off, you definitely made the right decision turning around. I had a similar experience on the cruise we just completed. We were heading from Isla Mujeres, Mexico to Cuba. We had watched conditions for the crossing for several days and thought we saw a window. We set off and 25 miles offshore, things were just not looking right. The wind was building (25+ when it was forecast at 7-10), waves were confused and building, and a couple of the crew were feeling pukey. I had the thought of turning back for about 15 minutes but had not said anything, so I brought up the topic. We were either in for a rough night ahead, or it was time to turn back. We turned back and I remember feeling really disappointed. Was I just being over-cautious? Soon after we turned around, we saw some fierce electrical storms behind us - so that reinforced our decision. We got back to Isla Mujeres and found our way back to the slip we had left (at midnight).

The next day, the Mexican navy moved their boat next to us and what turned out to be Tropical Storm Colin essentially formed above us. We sat it out for 4 days with no problems and then made our crossing to Cuba. We were very thankful for our decision as the west end of Cuba got high winds and heavy rains (locals told us they had just had a hurricane when we got there).

So for what its worth, my take away from this is "cruising=no schedule", and if your gut tells you to do something like turn back, reef etc. Listen and do it early.

Neil
__________________

__________________
S/V Midnight Sun II
www.midnightsunii.com
http://midnightsunii.blogspot.com/
Ndavies is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mast collar cracking around turning block pins jkalucki Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 4 23-02-2015 10:32
Anchoring Techniques for Storms, Hurricanes and Cyclones Hud3 Anchoring & Mooring 45 25-05-2009 15:44
queensland storms. cooper Cruising News & Events 0 28-02-2008 22:33
West coast storms Randyonr3 Cruising News & Events 4 06-01-2008 21:39
lightning storms pete33458 Seamanship & Boat Handling 34 04-11-2007 19:49



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:48.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.